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Full text of "Luther at home"

LUTHER AT HOME. 



DR. STORK'S WRITINGS. 



HOME- SCENES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. 

GELZER'S LIFE OF LUTHER. 

Edited, with an Introduction. 

CHILDREN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. 
LUTHER'S CHRISTMAS-TREE. 
JESUS IN THE TEMPLE. 
THE UNSEEN WORLD. 
LUTHER AT HOME. 



Ml, 




LUTHERS MARRIAGE. 



/J7V- 



Luther at Home. 









BY 

fORK, D. D. 












ISLfJt 




PHILADELPHIA: 

LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION. 

1872. 



v: 



. Si 3 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by 

LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION, 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

STEREOTYPED BY J. FAGAN & SON, PHILADELPHIA. 




CAXTON PRESS OF SHERMAN & CO. 



///t 




r I ^HESE pen and picture sketches are de- 
signed to familiarize the young with the 
most beautiful and instructive aspects and inci- 
dents of Luther's home-life. It is hoped, morever, 
that this portraiture of the great Reformer, as he 
appears in the privacy of home, will serve, in 
some measure, to counteract the tendency to in- 
dividualism in our day, and to expose the van- 
dalism that would substitute the freedom of 
affinities for the sacred bonds of matrimony, and 
break the wedding-ring as a superstitious symbol. 
No doubt there are inhumanities sheltered 
under the very sacredness of the domestic re- 
lations ; but everything has its shadow, and evils 
mingle with all human relations, and there are 
sometimes grievous wrongs and oppressions 
perpetrated under the very sanctity of the home- 
life. But surely we are not, on this account, to 

I * V 






VI PREFACE. 

break the sacred bonds of the marriage relation, 
and set the family group adrift in some vague 
conceit of social freedom or some nonsense of 
spiritual affinities : this would be like knocking 
a ship to pieces because some of the passengers 
are sea-sick. " This organism of the family is 
a ship that has carried human civilization over 
the waves of ages — an ark that has preserved 
the germs of the social state in many a deluge. 
Sunder the ties that hold it together, and who 
can estimate the ruin, or from the shattered 
fragments reconstruct society ? " 

The example of Luther may also suggest and 
practically illustrate what a beauty and blessed- 
ness belong to a truly Christian domestic life. 
How much there is to love and to enjoy in a 
true home ; and what divergent lines of destiny 
reach out from the cradle to immortal issues. 

And then it may suggest, to all who are mar- 
ried, the importance of having a home. There 
may be, to some, a necessity of boarding. But 
where such a sort of living is matter of choice 
from a love of ease or . luxury, of fashion or a 
morbid fondness for society, then it cannot be 



PREFACE. Vll 

too strongly deprecated. Better, it seems to us, 
that the family should live in a shanty, which 
they can call their own home, than in the state- 
liest mansion open to everybody ; which is like 
lodging on the house-top and eating in the street. 
Especially does tender childhood need the dews 
of domestic influences, and cannot unfold sweetly 
and naturally in the gairish sunlight and the 
rude contacts of the roadside. 

There is yet another thing suggested in this 
home- life of Luther, and that is, that every 
family needs the love and care of a father's 
heart. With all that a mother may do, the 
home that does not feel a father's loving sympa- 
thy is not a home. No man can have such 
grand enterprises, and such cares and toils, as 
absorbed the thoughts and busied the hands of 
Luther. And yet he found time and a heart 
for the pleasures and enjoyments of domestic 
life. No man has a right to let his entire heart 
melt away in business, and carry none of it home 
with him. There never was a business interest 
yet that ought to put out the light on the 
hearth-stone, or disarm a father, in the midst of 



Vlll PREFACE. 

his children, of kindness, cheerfulness, hope, and 
faith. 

We trust this humble effort to portray the 
home-life of the great Reformer may, at least, 
awaken the inquiry in every reader : " What is 
home to me f " And as you follow Luther as he 
appears in these pen pictures and home scenes, 
will you allow and ponder the questions : " Is 
home a place of serious thought as well as of 
love and gladness ? Have you an altar of prayer 
there? Is it overarched by the presence of 
God, and brightened by His benediction ? Do 
you comprehend the meaning of the commu- 
nions that are brightened by its fire-light, of 
the shadowy memories that fresco its walls ? Is 
it a little thing to you that the cry of birth has 
been heard beneath its roof, that the mystery of 
death has descended into its chambers? Is 
there no solemnity as well as gladness in the 
relations of husband and wife, of father and 
mother — a solemnity that links time to eter- 
nity, and earth with heaven ? Is not home full 
of incentives, full of voices calling to duty and 
love, to faith and prayer?" 




PAGE 



The Home-Life of Martin Luther. . .13 
Marriage. . . . . . . 27 

Singing with his Family. . . . -47 

Summer Joys with His Family. . . . 85 

Winter Pleasures. 1 1 1 

Home in Sorrow. 133 



THE HOME-LIFE 



MARTIN LUTHER 




XI 




THE 

HOME-LIFE 

OF 

MARTIN LUTHER. 



O man since the time of Paul has 
occupied so much of human thought, 
or so lived in the grateful memory of 
the Christian world, as Martin Luther. 
His eventful life of noble words and heroic 
deeds is the grandest fact of modern his- 
tory. His confession of the true faith is 
still shaping the religious sentiment of the 
evangelical Church; and his ideal of per- 
sonal liberty is still felt in every pulse of 
2 . *3 



14 THE HOME-LIFE OF 

human freedom and every step of Christian 
civilization. 

No eulogy of marble or of song can ade- 
quately celebrate the greatness of his work 
for the Church and the world. 

" Nothing can cover his high fame but Heaven ; 
No monument set off his memories 
But the eternal substance of his greatness." 

Ours is an humbler and all the more 
grateful, and perhaps needful, task of por- 
traying Luther's domestic life. 

The stern and unique grandeur of his 
public life only makes one the more curious 
to see how that life looks in the privacy of 
home; for the household is the home of 
the man as well as of the child. And what 
the man is there, is not only a truer revela- 
tion of himself, but it is nearer and dearer 
to us than any public events of his life 
which make his fame and attract the admi- 



MARTIN LUTHER. 1 5 

ration of the world. The events of domes- 
tic life are in the line and sympathy of our 
own living. What are called public events 
may or may not be ours in any sense of a 
common thought or feeling. Hence the 
home-life of great men has always a peculiar 
and universal interest. And for the same 
reason The Cotter's Saturday Night has 
about it such a charm, simply because it is 
so human, and touches in us so many home 
feelings and memories. 

We can have no true idea of Luther, as 
a man, apart from his home-life. In the 
flush and excitement of his public career, 
he is the creature of passion and impulse, 
and moves in a sort of artificial light, so 
that he is seen in that elusive and mystic 
haze of glory that excludes any true vision 
and estimate of the man. It is only when 
he is out of this fictitious glare of public 
life, and in the quiet, unaffected habitudes 



l6 THE HOME-LIFE OF 

of home, with his wife and children, that 
we see him as he really is. 

It is said that a man of letters is often a 
man of two natures, — the one a book 
nature, the other a human nature, — and 
the two are sometimes in painful antago- 
nism. Hence we hear so much of the in- 
felicities of great men in their domestic 
life. And when one reads of the unhappy 
homes of Moliere and Rousseau, and the 
ungenial firesides of such men as Dante, 
Milton, Addison, and Steele, and even of 
the sainted Hooker, it might well make us 
timid in lifting the veil from the home of 
the immortal Reformer, lest some infeli- 
cities of his private life should dim the 
glory of his public career. But, on the other 
hand, some of the sweetest pictures of hu- 
man life are found among those which rep- 
resent the homes of great men who mar- 
ried happily. And among all the honored 



MA R TIN L UTHER. I? 

homes of history, there is none more genial 
and happy than that of the great Reformer. 
Looking at Luther as he appeared in pub- 
lic, and prior to any knowledge of his pri- 
vate life, we might come to a very different 
conclusion. Seeing him as he appears in 
exciting controversy, when his very words 
were battles, and in his fulminations against 
a rotten priesthood and a despotic hierarchy, 
or with his stern look and defiant attitude be- 
fore the Diet of Worms, we might take him 
for a man with a heart of stone and nerves 
of steel. And yet such an inference would 
be as unsound in theory as we happily know 
it is false in fact. "True greatness," says 
Lavater, "is always simple and tender." 
Homer, the matchless painter of men, rep- 
resents Ajax, the bravest, and Ulysses, the 
wisest, as often weeping. And Luther, 
whose heroic deeds shook the very founda- 
tions of the mightiest kingdom, was as 

2* B 



18 THE HOME-LIFE OF 

gentle and loving in his social life as a 
little child. 

Carlyle, with his keen, philosophic eye, 
seems to see this blending of the hero and 
the child, the fearless daring and winsome 
gentleness, in the very face and physique 
of the great Reformer. He says : " Luther's 
face is to me expressive of him : in Cra- 
nach's best portraits I find the true Luther. 
A rude, plebeian face, with its huge crag- 
like brows and bones, the emblem of rugged 
energy; at first almost a repulsive face. 
Yet in the eyes especially there is a wild, 
silent sorrow — an unnamable melancholy, 
the element of all gentle and fine affections — 
giving to the rest the true stamp of noble- 
ness." And then in his peculiar style and 
imagery he goes on to give his own por- 
traiture of Luther in a few bold outlines 
and exquisite touches. "I will call this 
Luther a true Great Man ; great in intel- 



MA R TIN L U THE R. 1 9 

lect, in courage, affection, and integrity ; 
one of our most lovable and precious men. 
Great, not as a hewn obelisk, but as an 
Alpine mountain — so simple, honest, spon- 
taneous, not setting up to be great at all ; 
there for quite another purpose than being 
great ! Ah, yes, unsubduable granite, pierc- 
ing far and wide into the heavens ; yet in 
the cleft of it, fountains, green, beautiful 
valleys, with flowers ! " Again, he says : 
"A most gentle heart withal, full of pity 
and love, as indeed the truly valiant heart 
ever is. I know few things more touching 
than those soft breathings of affection, soft 
as a child's or mother's, in this great wild 
heart of Luther." 

This is substantially the view of Luther 
given by Heine, the pensive but brilliant 
poet of Germany: "Then he had qualities 
which are seldom found united, which we 
are accustomed to regard as irreconcilable 



20 THE HO ME- LIFE OF 

antagonisms. He was at the same time a 
dreamy mystic and a practical man of ac- 
tion. . . . When he had plagued himself 
all day long with his doctrinal distinctions, 
in the evening he took his flute, and gazed 
at the stars, dissolved in melody and devo- 
tion. He could be soft as a tender maiden. 
Sometimes he was wild as the storm that 
uproots the oak, and then again he was 
gentle as the zephyr that dallies with the 
violet." 

Perhaps the truest as well as the most 
comprehensive of all portraitures of Luther 
is that of Melancthon, in which he says that 
Luther's character is delineated in those 
words of St. Paul : " Whatsover things are 
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatso- 
ever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatso- 
ever things are of good report." 

And yet comparatively few seem to un- 



MARTIN LUTHER. 21 

derstand "whatsoever things are lovely " in 
Luther's character. A short time since a 
distinguished minister affirmed in his pul- 
pit that Luther was too sombre and one- 
sided. That he was a great man, and had 
done great things for the Church, but that 
he was altogether too sober and narrow, 
and lacked the genial mirth and sunny side 
of a full and rounded manhood. This was 
a total misconception of the Reformer. For 
of all distinguished men absorbed in great 
idetis of reform, and intent upon their ac- 
complishment, Luther was the most genial 
and sunny in his private life. He was many- 
sided, and touched all life with a quick and 
responsive sympathy peculiar to himself. 

If it be true that " the child is father of 
the man," then there must be in the true 
man something, of the child-nature. The 
childhood, in its loves and fancies and sym- 
pathies, must live on in the true manhood 



22 THE HOME-LIFE OF 

of the man. And so it appears pre-emi- 
nently in Luther. He had all the sim- 
plicity of a child in his love of nature and 
flowers and music. This phase of his life 
will come out more fully as we proceed to 
look at Luther in his family. For it is when 
great men are free from the affectations 
and conventionalisms that belong to public 
life, that they appear in their true and sim- 
ple manhood ; for there 



/'The man is never in his name absorbed, — 
Chained like a captive to his own renown." 



Such a man was fitted alike for the great 
deeds of the Reformation and the quiet 
pleasures of social and domestic life. He 
could pass gracefully from the gaze and ad- 
miration of the multitude to sport with his 
children as he had sported with crowns, 
and to cultivate his little garden at Witten- 
berg with the same earnestness he had em- 



MARTIN LUTHER. 2$ 

ployed to convert Eck or Zwingle. In the 
language of Audin, the brilliant French 
Romanist: " It must be a curious chapter in 
the history of the human heart to behold 
the quiet occupations of this monk, whom 
Charles V. was not able to subdue, who 
dared to insult Henry VIII., and whose ob- 
stinacy Leo X., Adrian, and Clement had 
not been able to overcome ; — but who, in 
the midst of his family, seemed to have lost 
all recollection of his past glory, and was 
willing to be concealed from the world that 
he might enjoy the delights of love and 
friendship, and give to the world the exam- 
ple of the domestic virtues which Plutarch 
so much loved to describe." 




M^H 



MARRIAGE. 



25 




MARRIAGE. 

" A husband in the great Reformer see, 
Like Martin Luther, and like nothing more ! 

Looks he less lofty to those hearts which love 
The sterling and the true, when playful seen 
In the mild sunshine of a married state?" 

|HE Reformer's true home life began 
with his marriage. To this import- 
ant step he was prompted, not so much 
from natural inclination, as from the urgent 
wishes of his aged father and his own per- 
sonal convictions of duty. He believed that 
he was called to the marriage state not only 
as a man, but as a reformer. The enforce- 
ment of celibacy on the clergy was, in his 

27 




28 MARRIAGE. 

now enlightened views, not only wrong in 
itself, but productive of enormous immo- 
rality. His study of the Bible, as well as 
his knowledge of the impurity of the reli- 
gious orders for centuries, led him to re- 
gard marriage as the natural and healthy 
state in which clergy as well as laity were 
intended to live. It was the condition in 
which humanity was at once purest and 
happiest. 

It was with such views he determined to 
marry. He said : " We may be able to live 
unmarried ; but in these days we must pro- 
test in deed as well as in word against the 
doctrine of celibacy. It is an invention of 
Satan." His friend Schurff, the lawyer, 
said: "If this monk should marry, he will 
make all the world and the devil himself 
burst with laughter, and will destroy the 
work so grandly begun." This sarcasm 
only strengthened Luther in his purpose, 



MARRIAGE. 20 

and boldly raising his head, he exclaimed : 
"Well, then, I will do it; I will play the 
devil and the world this trick ; I will con- 
tent my father and marry Catharine." 

Catharine von Bora, whom he chose for 
his wife, was a nun of good family, left 
homeless by the breaking up of her con- 
vent. How it happened that Luther and 
Catharine came together is happily told by 
" E. B. S.," in the Lutheran Home Journal 
of 1853: 

" A tenant of the convent of Nimptisch, 
in Saxony, she was snatched as it were from 
a living death by the writings of the great 
Reformer, whose works were read by the 
nuns of this cloister by permission of the 
Lady Abbess, with the pious design of 
arousing in their minds an abhorrence of 
the wicked heretic Luther. But the beau- 
tiful Ketha, with eight of her companions, 
arose from their perusal and study to bless 



30 MARRIAGE. 

Luther, who brought to them the joyful 
news of a free and full salvation. They all 
fled from the convent, and Ketha found 
protection and a refuge with the Burgomas- 
ter of Wittenberg, and also with Philip and 
Margaret Melancthon. While sojourning 
with her truly Christian friends, the lovely 
Catharine had several distinguished suitors 
for the honor of her hand, but she re- 
quested of her friend Margaret that she 
might not be persecuted with their unde- 
sired attentions, as her heart could never 
be interested in any of them ; and with a 
true woman's tact, Margaret perfectly un- 
derstood her friend, whom she not a little 
annoyed by her playful pleasantries con- 
cerning the ' terrible Luther's ' monkish 
notions. For, although not approving of 
the celibacy of the monks and clergy, he 
had, it seems, considered the question set- 
tled that he was not to marry. At this time 



MARRIAGE. 31 

he must have been about forty years old, 
and Margaret intuitively perceived that the 
young Ketha's enthusiastic veneration for 
her unseen liberator possessed the germs 
of an incipient, yet faithful and blessed at- 
tachment. It was rather a curious circum- 
stance, that of Luther's being employed by 
Catharine's most persevering admirer to 
plead for him, and secure an interest in the 
heart of the reluctant fair one. He under- 
took the matter, supposing that some reli- 
gious scruples were in the way, and he was 
not a little surprised and puzzled at Catha- 
rine's continued inflexibility. But 

' The bard has sung, God never formed a soul 

Without its own peculiar mate, to meet 
Its wandering half, when ripe to crown the whole 
Bright plan of bliss, most heavenly, most complete !' 

And thus was the surprised and grateful 
Luther led to his Ketha, the crowning star 
of his eventful life of toil and labor." 



32 MARRIAGE. 

In the beautiful month of June, 1525, in 
a private chapel of the house of the Regis- 
trar of Wittenberg, Luther was married to 
Catharine von Bora. As represented in 
Kcenig's picture, " the jurist, Apel, and the 
great painter, Cranach, stand on either side ; 
Bugenhagen blesses the plighted troth of 
Luther and Catharine, who kneel before 
him, she with her long hair flowing over 
her shoulders, and the marriage-wreath on 
her brow, her face meekly and thoughtfully 
bent downward ; he holding her right hand 
in his, his left pressing on his heart, and his 
eyes turned to heaven." * 

No one can look at this picture, 

"Where his devoted heart 
The wedded Luther to his Ketha gave," 

without being impressed with the moral 
beauty and heavenly sanctity of marriage, 
We experience an indefinable pleasure in 

*Dr. Krauth's Conservative Reformation. 



MARRIAGE. 33 

viewing Luther in this quiet, touching heart- 
scene, in contrast with his previous lonely 
and stormy life. It is like passing from the 
bleak, cold desolation of winter into the 
genial and flowery spring. And then we 
feel, too, the meaning and moral influences 
of that quiet bridal scene in the household 
chapel in Wittenberg. It was there Luther 
laid the foundation of a family in the true 
German and evangelical spirit. " From the 
Augustine cloister at Wittenberg, which 
had now become the residence of Luther 
and his family, sprang the noblest germ of 
social morality, and of the purest spirit of 
German domestic life. This cloister-home 
became the ideal type of numberless fami- 
lies of Protestant Germany, and especially 
of those numerous families of evangelical 
ministers to whom German society is so 
largely indebted for morality and piety." * 

* Gelzer's Life of Luther. 
C 



34 MARRIAGE. 

It was as decided a step against Roman- 
ism as the burning of the Papal Bull ; for 
it was a solemn proclamation to the world 
of the divine ordination of marriage for 
priest and people, and a practical protest 
by the leader of the Reformation against 
the enormous evils of celibacy. No won- 
der the Romanists raised such a hue and 
cry against Luther, and well-nigh over- 
whelmed him with all sorts of calumnies. 
Some said that " Antichrist would be the 
offspring of such a union; for it was pre- 
dicted that he would be born of a monk and 
a nun." To this Erasmus replied, with a 
sarcastic smile : " If the prophecy be true, 
what thousands of antichrists must already 
exist in the world." 

But while the Romanists denounced Lu- 
ther for his marriage, there were many 
friends who commended his course, and of- 
fered him their heartfelt congratulations. 



MARRIAGE. 35 

Melancthon, who was at first startled by 
this bold step, afterwards said, with that 
sweet, impressive voice to which even his 
enemies listened with respect, " It is false 
and slanderous to maintain that there is 
anything unbecoming in Luther's marriage. 
I think that in marrying he must have done 
violence to his own wishes, impelled thereto 
by conscience. A married life is one of 
humility, but it is also a holy state, if there 
be any such in the world ; and the Scrip- 
tures everywhere represent it as honorable 
and desirable in the eyes of the Lord." 

Luther was happy in this union. He 
used to say that the happiest life on earth 
is with a pious, good wife ; in peace and 
quiet, contented with a little, and giving 
God thanks. Of his gentle and loving 
Ketha, he said : " I value her more than the 
kingdom of France or the wealth of the 



$6 MARRIAGE. 

Venetians." He could say, after years of 
experience, and from his very heart : 

"A wife becomes the truest, tenderest friend, 
The balm of comfort and the source of joy, 
Thro' every various turn of life the same." 

The first three years of his wedded life 
were spent in the quiet enjoyment of his 
home, with his beloved Ketha by his side. 
Those years of retirement were not lost, as 
some supposed, for Luther was schooled in 
heart culture and social refinement, and the 
asperities of his nature were softened by 
the gentle and affectional companionship 
and ministries of Ketha. She won his 
esteem by her mental culture, and charmed 
his heart by her womanly graces. She 
consoled him in his depressions by repeat- 
ing passages from the Bible, relieved him 
from all household cares, worked his por- 
trait in embroidery, and, in his leisure mo- 
ments, amused him by the naivete of her 



MARRIAGE. 2>7 

questions. Luther's account of this is quite 
amusing. He says: "The first year of 
married life is an odd business. At meals,, 
where you used to be alone, you are your- 
self and somebody else. My Ketha used. 
to sit with me when I was at work. She 
thought she ought not to be silent. She did 
not know what to say, so she would ask me : 

" 'Herr doctor, is not the master of the 
ceremonies in Prussia the brother of the 
margrave ? ' " 

She was an odd woman. 

" Doctor," she said to him one day, "how 
is it that under popery we prayed so often 
and so earnestly, and now our prayers are 
cold and seldom?" 

Ketha might have spoken for herself. 
Luther, to the last, spent hours every day 
in prayer. He advised her to read the 
Bible a little more. She said she had read 
enough of it, and knew half of it by heart. 

4 



38 MARRIAGE. 

Catharine, as is common with an affec- 
tionate wife, was too anxious about her 
husband, for which Luther would some- 
times gently and playfully reprove her. On 
one occasion he shut himself up for three 
days in his study. Catharine, feeling very 
much troubled, looked for him all over the 
house, knocking at every door, but without 
success. At last she sent for a locksmith, 
who forced open the study-door, and there 
she found Luther, absorbed in his com- 
mentary on the twenty-second Psalm. She 
kindly reproved him for causing her so 
much anxiety ; but he, pointing to the Bible, 
said : " Do you think I was doing anything 
bad ? Do you not know that I must work 
as long as it is day, for the night cometh in 
which no man can work ? " 

On another occasion, in answer to an 
anxious letter from his wife, he wrote : 

" To my gracious lady, Catharine Luther, 



MARRIAGE. 39 

my dear wife, who torments herself unne- 
cessarily, grace and peace in our Lord Je- 
sus Christ. Dear Ketha, thou oughtest to 
read what St. John says in the catechism 
upon the confidence we ought to have in 
God. Thou art tormenting thyself, as if 
He were not all-powerful, and could not 
produce new Doctor Martins by the dozen, 
if the old one should be drowned in the 
Saale, or perish in any other manner. 
There is One who takes better care of me 
than thou, or even the angels of heaven 
can do. He sits at the right hand of his 
Father, and is all-powerful. Then quiet 
thyself. Amen." 

During- the earlier years of his married 
life Luther was very poor. According to 
Michelet, his income never exceeded one 
hundred and eight dollars. This may seem 
strange, considering the immense sale of 
his writings, and his eminent position in the 



40 MARRIAGE. 

eyes of all Europe. But owing to a "con- 
scientious whim," he would not take any- 
thing for his manuscripts, and he received 
no fixed salary from the university. About 
two years after his marriage, writing to a 
friend who had requested a loan of him, he 
said : " You ask me for eight florins. Where 
on earth am I to get eight florins ? As you 
know, I am compelled to live with the strict- 
est economy, and yet my want of means, 
perhaps my want of care, has compelled 
me to contract, during the past year, debts 
amounting to more than a hundred florins, 
which I must somehow and sometime repay 
to various persons/' 

Indeed, the straitened circumstances of 
Luther obliged him to turn his hand to 
manual labor in order to obtain his bread. 
Speaking of this, he remarked: "Since 
among us barbarians there is no man of 
art to instruct us in better things, I and my 



MARRIAGE. 41 

servant Wolfgang have set ourselves to the 
business of turning, in our leisure mo- 
ments." 

And yet, in all the privations and anxie- 
ties of almost abject poverty, Luther was 
happy — happy in his faith, and happy in 
his family. Writing to his friend Sliepel, 
he said : " Catharine, my dear rib, salutes 
thee. She is quite well, thank God ; gen- 
tle, obedient, and kind in all things, far be- 
yond all my hopes. I would not exchange 
my poverty with her for all the riches of 
Crcesus without her." 

What we think and feel of such a wedded 
life is best expressed in Luther's own words: 
" There are no ties of society more beauti- 
ful, more elevating, and happier than a well- 
assorted marriage. It is a pleasure to be- 
hold two people living together in wedlock 
in harmony and love." And such was Lu- 
ther's married life. 



42 MARRIAGE. 

As they came from the chapel at Witten- 
berg, with the benediction yet fresh upon 
their wedded union, Luther might have ex- 
pressed his feelings in those touching words 

of the poet: 

"My bride, 
My wife, my life. Oh, we will walk this world 
Yok'd in all exercise of noble aim, 
And so through those dark gates across the wild 
That no man knows." 

And they did so walk. Their first affection 
acquired greater depth and intensity by the 
vanishing away of all that was merely ideal 
or fanciful. And the very trials of life deep- 
ened their mutual sympathies, and strength- 
ened the clasping bonds of a sanctified love. 
It is manifest that in a union so intimate 
and life-long, revealing every phase of 
character and mood of temper, there will 
often be felt the need of the love that " is 
not easily provoked, which suffereth long, 
and is kind " — which has power to invest 



MARRIAGE. 43 

the being loved with its own beauty, trans- 
forming seeming blemishes into fancied vir- 
tues. No doubt there was something of 
this in Catharine's experience with a man 
like Luther, so full of cares and troubles 
from without, and withal so quick and sharp 
and impulsive ; but she could say : 

" My love doth so approve him, 
That even his stubbornness, his checks and frowns, 
Have grace and favor in them." 

Such a love, hallowed by. religion, is the 
very life of marriage, — the very bond of 
perfectness. It is the fragrant blossom that 
will not only gladden the heart, but beau- 
tify the humblest home with the ministries 
of peace and charity. And so Luther and 
his beloved Ketha, by being one in Christ, 
maintained this affectional and life -long 
unity. Jesus, who came to open heavenly 
mansions into our earthly habitations, was 
their ever welcome and abiding guest, and 



44 MA RRIA GE. 

the atmosphere of their home was redolent 
of His heavenly spirit. Thus they grew in 
personal excellence, mutual affinity, and 
spiritual oneness, to the end of life. This 
assimilative growth in true Christian mar- 
riage is beautifully expressed in those ex- 
quisite lines of Tennyson : 

' ' Yet in the long years liker must they grow ; 
The man be more of woman, she of man : 
He gain in sweetness and in moral height, 
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world ; 
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care: 
Move as the double-natured poet each : 
Till at the last she set herself to man 
Like perfect music unto noble words." 




LUTHER 
SINGING WITH HIS FAMLY. 



/zrmss 



45 




LUTHER SINGING WITH HIS FAMILY. 



God setteth the solitary in families." 



HE Psalmist indicates a divine pur- 
pose in placing the individual man 
in domestic relations, and suggests the 
meaning and importance of the family. 
Luther was a scholar, a thinker, a Re- 
former, before he had a home. But how 
all his powers and sympathies were quick- 
ened and intensified by the new affections 
and solicitudes of a husband and a father ! 
What a new life he felt in the lives of his 
children ; nay, what depths were opened, 
what chords were touched, what enlarged 

47 



48 FA MIL Y. 

vision was given by their departure from 
earth ! 

Luther used to say that " many children 
are a sign of God's blessing; and hence 
you may see why Duke George has never 
had any." Luther himself was certainly 
not wanting in this token of heaven's favor. 
He had six children : John, Elizabeth, Mad- 
eleine, Martin, Paul, and Margaret. And 
notwithstanding his studies, and his many 
labors and anxieties for the Church, he not 
only found time to sport with his children, 
but was ever inventing new plays for their 
diversion and amusement. And yet, child 
as he was with his children in their sports 
and pleasures, he never lost sight of the 
divine order and religiousness of the house- 
hold. He was careful to rear his children 
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
and daily repeated with them the Ten Com- 
mandments, the Creed, and the Lord's 



FA MIL Y. 49 

Prayer. He was, moreover, very strict in 
the Christian discipline of his children ; and 
the first law of his house was their trustful 
subjection to his will, and obedience in all 
things. When his son John was twelve 
years old, he was in some important in- 
stance disobedient, and committed some 
great wrong, on account of which Luther 
for three days refused to have anything to 
do with him, though he had meekly asked 
his forgiveness in writing. Some of his 
friends thought the discipline too severe. 
And when Catharine, Dr. Jonas, and Dr. 
Teutleben interceded for John, Luther said: 
" I would rather have my son dead than 
disobedient. St. Paul did not without rea- 
son say that a bishop must rule his own 
house well, and have obedient children, that 
other people may be edified through them, 
follow their example, and not be offended. 
We ministers are honored so much that 
5 d 



50 FA MIL Y. 

we might set a good example. But our 
untrained children cause others td take of- 
fence, and bad boys commit sin in virtue of 
our privileges." * 

Luther's home-life was a model of quiet 
simplicity. He was sociable, cheerful, and 
fond of innocent amusements. And not- 
withstanding his large and expensive family 
and his scanty income, he was the most 
generous and hospitable of men. He was 
surrounded at his table, not only by his 
children, but by a number of intimate 
friends. Melancthon, Jonas, Amsdorf, and 
others of his co-laborers, were his frequent 
and ever welcome guests, sharing alike in 
his toils and his pleasures. And as Luther 
was from habit and principle uncommonly 
abstemious, he would talk and joke and 
laugh while the company were enjoying the 
provisions of the table, as well as his crisp 

* Fick's Life of Luther, translated by Prof. Loy. 



FA MIL Y. 51 

humor and versatile conversation. At such 
times, as Audin says, he would talk of phi- 
losophy and demonology, biblical explana- 
tions and poetry, morality and antichrist. 
These conversations — Tischreden, Table- 
Talk, collected by his friends — make one 
of the most brilliant books in the world.* 

The first years of Luther's married life, 
though cheerful and happy, were not with- 
out passing shadows of sorrow. But even 
these afflictions, though grievous at the 
time, afterwards yielded the peaceable fruits 
of righteousness, and only deepened and 
refined the affectional bonds and ministries 
of the home -life. In 1527, his little son 
John was attacked by the plague, which 
had made its appearance in Saxony, and was 
then raging in its most virulent form. In 
a letter to Spalatin, he writes : " My little 
favorite, John, does not salute thee, for he 

*Froude's Times of Erasmus and Luther. 



52 FAMILY. 

is still too ill to speak ; but through me he 
solicits your prayers. For the last twelve 
days he has not eaten a morsel. 'T is won- 
derful to see how the poor child keeps up 
his spirits ; he would manifestly be as gay 
and joyous as ever, were it not for the ex- 
cess of his physical weakness. However, 
the crisis of his disease is now past." 

Shortly after, Luther was himself attacked 
with severe illness, evidently brought on by 
the constant strain both of body and mind 
which he had been called to endure for 
many years. Recovering from a swoon 
into which he had fallen, he turned to his 
wife, and faintly said : " Dear Ketha, where 
is my little darling, my little John ? " The 
child, when brought to him, smiled upon its 
father, who went on, speaking feebly, and 
with tears : " My poor, dear little boy, I 
commend thee heartily to our Lord ; thee 
and thy good mother, my beloved Ketha. 



FAMILY. 53 

I leave you nothing; but God, who feeds 
the ravens, will care for you, — He who is 
the father of the fatherless, and the widow's 
God. Preserve them, O God! teach them' 
as Thou hast taught me ! " 

About six months after this sickness, 
Ketha gave Luther a daughter; but her 
stay on earth was short — like an angel's 
visit, or a vision of the night. 

"E'er sin could blight or sorrow fade, 
Death came with friendly care ; 
The op'ning bud to heaven conveyed, 
And bade it blossom there." 

Luther wrote to a friend : " My little 
rosebud daughter Elizabeth is dead : 't is 
wonderful how sick at heart her loss has 
made me. I feel a mere woman, so great 
is my sadness. I could never have 
dreamed that a man's soul could be 
touched with such tenderness, even to- 
wards his child." 
5* 



54 FAMILY. 

These early shadows of affliction and 
death in Luther's family passed away, and 
left the home with a serener light and a 
warmer love ; for the overshadowing cloud 
of death, as it passed away, was radiant 
with the bow that 

" Spans the earth, and forms a pathway to the skies." 

We pass now to a peculiar feature of 
the great Reformer's domestic life, as 
illustrated by Kcenig's picture of 

LUTHER SINGING AT HOME. 

It is surely not without interest to know, 
of a great thinker or worker, a great 
Teacher or Reformer, that there was in 
him, over and above all his special gifts 
and endowments of mind, a sensitiveness 
to the power of music. This is notable in 
the great Apostle of the Gentiles, who was 
not only a singer himself, but urged so 



FAMILY. 55 

lovingly upon his converts the singing of 
" psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs ; " 
intimating that without music their ritual 
would be cold and dead. Yes, in Paul, no 
less than in the greatest of his followers, 
in Augustine, in Luther, in the Wesleys, 
we may see a great example of the power 
of music, and learn to acknowledge in that 
power a great gift of God. 

The artist conducts us into Luther's 
" Chantry in the House." Surrounded by 
his children and a few friends, he is prac- 
tising the first evangelical church melodies. 
The man before the music-stand, with a 
guitar in his hand, is Walter, the Electoral 
Chapel-Master ; on the left is the Chanter, 
holding an open sheet of music ; on the 
right is Mathesius, a very intimate friend. 

The picture not only gives us a glimpse 
of Luther's enjoyment of music in his 
family, but suggests how much that intro- 



56 FAMILY. 

duction of German church music had to 
do with the furtherance of evangelical re- 
ligion. Luther was not only fond of 
music, but was really an enthusiast in this, 
as in everything that he loved. It made 
him a poet and hymnist, and his songs 
were the expression of the inmost heart 
of the German people. We find scattered 
through his writings many fragmentary 
and beautiful sentiments about music. 

" Music is one of the noblest gifts of 
God. It is a good antidote against 
temptation and evil thoughts." 

" Music is the best cordial to a person 
in sadness : it soothes, quickens, and re- 
freshes the heart." 

" I have always loved music. He that is 
skilled in this art is possessed of good 
qualities, and can be employed in any 
thing." 



FAMILY. 57 

Perhaps the most significant of all his 
passages on music is the following : 

" I am fully of the opinion, and am not 
ashamed to maintain, that, next to theol- 
ogy, music takes the highest rank in the 
sciences ; because it alone, after theology, 
does that which otherwise theology alone 
does — it soothes the mind, and renders it 
joyful and courageous ; which is an evi- 
dence that the evil one, the author of sad 
cares and unquiet emotions, flees at the 
voice of music almost as much as at the 
voice of theology. For this reason the 
prophets cultivated no art so much as that 
of music, and clothed their theology, not 
in geometry or arithmetic or astronomy, 
but in music." 

Luther made music a part of his 
domestic enjoyments and household wor- 
ship. John Walter says : " I have sung 
many a delightful hour with him ; and have 



58 FAMILY. 

often observed how our beloved friend be- 
came more and more cheerful as we sang, 
and was so happy that it seemed he could 
never get enough of it. He has himself 
composed the chants to the Epistles and 
Gospels ; has sung them to me, and asked 
my opinion. He kept me three weeks in 
Wittenberg, until the first German mass 
had been chanted in the parish church." 

Mathesius relates that the Doctor sang 
at table as well as afterwards ; and often, 
when weary and heart-sore, he would turn 
to his guitar or lute, and rise up refreshed 
and strengthened for his work. Once 
during Advent, in 1538, when he had the 
singers at table with him, and they sang 
some beautiful pieces, he said with deep 
emotion: "As our Lord pours out such 
noble gifts upon us in this life, how glorious 
will be eternal life ! This is only materia 
prima — the beginning." 



FA MIL Y. 59 

Luther was never happier than when, 
seated at his parlor - organ, the whole 
family united with him in singing the 
praises of God. It was like heaven on 
earth. And sometimes after such music 
in the family, he would say: "I love music : 
it elevates me and makes me better, and 
brings me nearer to the throne of God, 
where the angels cry, Holy, holy, holy, day 
and night." 

There is a picture which represents Lu- 
ther with his family singing their evening 
hymn. The eldest son, John, is playing 
the violin, as an accompaniment to the or- 
gan, where his father is seated, whose be- 
nignant countenance is beaming with love 
upon his youngest boys, who are holding 
fast by his instrument, and whose gladsome 
hearts make their eyes sparkle with joy ; 
whilst the serene mother, with the hymn- 
book in her hand, bends fondly over Lu- 



60 FA MIL Y. 

ther's chair; and her little daughters are 
standing meekly by her side, with hands 
clasped in silent worship. Truly, as we 
gaze upon that home-scene, we cannot but 
feel that " Religion never was designed to 
make our pleasures less." 

" At once they sing, at once they pray, 
They hear of heaven and learn the way." 

LUTHER AS A HYMNIST. 

But wider than his home, was the in- 
fluence of his poetry and music. Luther 
was a poet as well as a Reformer. He 
performed noble deeds, which are but 
noble thoughts realized. In this view, 
Coleridge says: " He was a poet indeed, as 
great a poet as ever lived in any age or 
country; but his poetic images were so vivid 
that they mastered the poet's own mind. 
He was possessed with them, as with sub- 
stances distinct from himself. Luther did 



FAMILY. . 6 1 

not write, he acted poems." Carlyle, on 
"Luther's Psalms," says: "With words he 
had not learned to make pure music; it 
was by deeds of love and heroic valor that 
he spoke freely Nevertheless, in imper- 
fect articulation, the same voice, if we listen 
well, is to be heard in his poems." 

Luther was no doubt born a poet; but it 
was in times of peril and tribulation that 
the poetry in him blossomed into hymns. 
Some men 

"Are cradled into poetry by wrong, 
And learn in suffering, what they teach in song." 

So it was with Luther. We find the 
translator and expounder and preacher of 
the word of God giving the tone as the 
spiritual poet of the Reformation. By the 
adaptation of old German poems to the 
service of the temple, and the translation 
of Latin lyrics, as well as by his own ori- 



62 FAMILY. 

ginal hymns, he became the Father of 
psalmody — that beautiful blossom of Ger- 
man Protestantism. 

A small collection of his hymns was 
first published at Wittenberg, in 1 524 ; and 
another the year following. It was the 
one great doctrine of salvation by faith in 
Jesus, which he preached from the towers 
of Erfurt, and before the Diet of Worms, 
preached always and everywhere, woven 
into hymns and spiritual songs, that helped 
so wondrously the onward march of the 
Reformation. 

Others caught the spirit of Luther, and 
became poets and singers. Not only in 
palaces, cathedrals, and cloisters, but 
among the common people everywhere 
were found the friends of the Reformation. 
Among this worthy class there was a 
notable shoemaker — one Hans Sachs, of 
Nuremberg. This man managed to make 



FA MIL Y. 63 

shoes and verses at the same time. Nu- 
remberg, his native place, was one of the 
first cities of Germany to welcome the new 
doctrine ; and soon Hans Sachs tuned his 
lyre to the service of the Reformed doc- 
trine ; and since the minstrel's song had 
ceased in the feudal castle, no music so 
stirred and aroused the German people as 
his rude Christian lyrics. According to 
Wetzel, about five thousand of his brave 
and earnest songs went out from his hum- 
ble workshop, while Luther was at work 
upon the outposts of papal superstition. 
And it would be difficult to decide whether 
this poet of the people or the Elector of 
Saxony, achieved the most in the great Ref- 
ormation of the sixteenth century ; or to 
say how much Hans Sachs, by his earnest 
and spiritual hymns, helped Luther in his 
sermons and Melancthon in his epistles. 
But we have now to speak mainly of Lu- 



64 FA MIL Y. 

ther's hymns, and what they did for him- 
self and the Reformation. Luther's first 
hymn, it is said, was occasioned by the 
martyrdom of two young Christian monks, 
who were burnt alive, at Brussels, by the 
Sophists : 

" Flung to the heedless winds, or on the waters cast, 
Their ashes shall be watched, and gathered at the 

last. 
And from that scattered dust, around us and abroad, 
Shall spring a plenteous seed of witnesses for God. 
Jesus hath now received their latest living breath, 
Yet vain is Satan's boast of victory in their death. 
Still, still, though dead, they speak, and trumpet- 

tongued proclaim, 
To many a wakening land, the one availing Name." 

This, among the hymns of Luther, is re- 
markable for its harmonious measure and 
poetical rhythm, and, like all his Christian 
lyrics, is full of his fire and enthusiasm and 
joyful trust in God. 

His " Song of Praise for Redemption " 



FA MIL Y. 65 

is remarkable as a condensed versification 
of his " Commentary on the Galatians," or 
as containing the essence of his own life- 
experience. We give the first verse : 

"Dear Christian people all rejoice, 
Each soul with joy upspringing ; 
Pour forth our song with heart and voice, 
With love and gladness singing. 
Give thanks to God, our Lord above, 
Thanks for His miracle of love ! 
Dearly He hath redeemed us ! ' ' 

Luther's carol for Christmas, written for 
his own child Hans, is still sung from the 
dome of the Kreuz-Kirche, in Dresden, be- 
fore daybreak on the morning of Christ- 
mas-day. " It refers to the custom, then 
and long afterwards prevalent in Germany, 
of making, at Christmas-time, represen- 
tations of the manger with the infant 
Jesus."* 

Fut the most famous of all his hymns is 

* Evenings with the Sacred Poets, p. 98. 
6* E 



66 FA MIL Y. 

his noble version of Psalm XL VI,, "Ein 
Feste burg ist wiser Gott" which may be 
called the national hymn of Protestant 
Germany. One cannot speak of German 
Psalmody, or rightly appreciate Luther, 
without this grand poem, in which his heroic 
spirit unconsciously shines forth in ideal 
and inimitable grandeur. " Ein Feste 
burg" it is said, was composed by Luther 
on his way to Worms, and is a regular 
battle-song. Heine says : " The old cathe- 
dral trembled when it heard these novel 
sounds; the very rooks flew from their 
nests on its towers. That hymn, the Mar- 
seillaise of the Reformation, has preserved 
to the present day its potent spell over 
German hearts, and we may yet hear it 
thundered forth." * 

Of the many translations of this memo- 
rable hymn, we select the following from 

* Heine, in the Revue de Deux Mondes, 1834. 



FA MILY. 67 

the Church Book, as sufficiently literal, 
whilst it retains much of the grand rhythm 
of the original, and is, moreover, adapted 
to the music composed by Luther. The 
music is as soul-stirring as the hymn ; and 
the two are so united by a common birth, 
sympathy and historical association, that 
they ought never to be separated. 

LUTHER'S GREAT HYMN. 

" A mighty Fortress is our God, 
A trusty shield and weapon ; 
He helps us free from every need 
That hath us now o'ertaken. 
The old bitter foe 
Means us deadly woe ; 
Deep guile and great might 
Are his dread arms in fight, 
On earth is not his equal. 

"With might of ours can naught be done, 
Soon were our loss effected ; 
But for us fights the Valiant One 
Whom God himself elected. 



68 FA MIL Y. 

Ask ye, who is this ? 

Jesus Christ it is, 
Of Sabaoth Lord, 
And there 's none other God, 
He holds the field forever. 

" Though devils all the world should fill, 
All watching to devour us, 
We tremble not, we fear no ill, 
They cannot overpower us. 

This world's prince may still 
Scowl fierce as he will, 
He can harm us none. 
He 's judged, the deed is done, 
One little word o'erthrows him. 

" The Word they still shall let remain, 
And not a thank have for it ; 
He 's by our side upon the plain, 
With his good gifts and spirit. 
Take they then our life, 
Goods, fame, child and wife ; 
When their worst is done, 
They yet have nothing won : 
The Kingdom ours remaineth." 

Of this hymn, Carlyle says in his own 
peculiar way : " It jars upon our ears ; yet 
is there something in it like the sound of 



FAMILY. 69 

Alpine avalanches, or the first murmur of 
earthquakes ; in the very vastness of which 
dissonance a higher unison is revealed to 
us. Luther wrote this song in a time of 
blackest threatenings, — which, however, 
could in nowise become a time of despair. 
... It is evident enough that to this man all 
Popes' conclaves and imperial Diets, and 
hosts and nations were but weak ; weak as 
the forest, with all its strong trees, may be 
to the smallest spark of electric fire!' 

It has been justly called the battle-hymn 
of the Church, and the paean of the Ref- 
ormation, for it was a song of inspiration 
and power to Luther and others in the 
darkest days of the Church. On the 1 6th 
of April, as Luther approached Worms, 
and the old bell-towers rose to view, he 
stood up in his chariot, and began to sing 
this soul-stirring hymn. One day, when 
Melancthon was at Weimar, he heard a 



70 FAMILY. 

little child sing this hymn in the street, and 
confessed how it had comforted him. It 
was sung by Gustavus Adolphus for the 
last time on the battle-field of Lutzen, 
where the pious king of Sweden fell, nobly 
fighting for God and his country. It was 
sung by the camp-fires and before many a 
battle in the recent Prussian war, and with 
all the fire and enthusiasm of the times of 
Luther. Some one asked the Elector 
Frederick why he did not build fortifica- 
tions in his country. He answered : " Ein 
Feste Burg ist unser Gott." It was this 
hymn that was sung in sorrow and tears 
over Luther's grave, and its first line was 
inscribed upon his tomb. 

Coleridge says " that Luther did as much 
for the Reformation by his hymns as by 
his translation of the Bible." This per- 
haps is a little too strong ; but it must be 
evident that the influence of his hymns 



FAMILY. 71 

was mighty and extensive in moulding 
popular sentiment, and uniting men in the 
common faith of Protestantism, who knew 
little of Creeds and Articles. They were 
to Luther himself a means of inspiration: 
and strength in the stormy conflict through: 
which he was called to pass, and a cheer- 
ing, heavenly enjoyment in his family. 
We have alluded to the singing of Ein 
Feste Burg as he entered Worms. We 
give one other instance of his singing in 
time of trouble. During the Diet of Augs- 
burg, in 1530, Luther's mental anxiety so 
overcame his bodily strength, that he 
fainted ; on recovering, he said, " Come, 
let us defy the devil, and praise God, by 
singing the hymn, Out of the depths, I cry to 
Thee." This hymn has been sung by thous- 
ands of believers in times of sickness and 
sorrow. It was sung in the cathedral of 
Wittenberg at Luther's funeral. In the very 



72 FAMILY. 

church, upon whose doors he had nailed 
his Theses, his sorrowing friends sang 
this hymn that had so stirred all Germany. 
It is said to have been the last Protestant 
hymn sung in the Strasbourg Cathedral. 

It is not possible to estimate how much 
the hymns of Luther advanced the cause 
of the Reformation. The common people 
of Germany caught up these songs, so full 
of strong scriptural words, and sang them 
with all their hearts : so that it has been 
truly said that the hymns of Germany be- 
came her national liturgy. And then, un- 
like the idle listening to a dry and heartless 
litany, the people were able to understand 
the deep spiritual meaning of these hymns, 
so respondent to their soul experiences 
and holiest aspirations. No wonder it is 
said in the history of those times, that the 
children learned Luther's hymns in the cot- 
tage, and martyrs sang them on the scaf- 



FAMILY. 73 

fold. And no wonder that the Romanists 
hated these hymns almost as much as an 
open Bible, for they helped on the spread 
of the evangelical Church. Hence, a Ro- 
man Catholic writer says : " The hymns of 
Luther have ruined more souls than all his 
writings and sermons." 

It is curious and suggestive to note how 
the Reformation went on its way, not only 
singing, but by singing. It is said that the 
Reformation was introduced into the city 
of Hanover, not by preachers or by books, 
but by the hymns of Luther which were 
sung among the people. It is reported that 
hundreds, who otherwise would never have 
heard the name of Luther, were brought to 
the true faith by means of that single hymn, 
" Nunfreut etcck, Hebe Christengemein!' 

Selnecker relates that several of these 
hymns having been introduced into the 
chapel-service of the Duke Henry of Wolf- 

7 



74 FA MIL Y. 

enbiittle, a priest made complaint. The 
duke asked what hymns he objected to. 
" May it please your highness, they are 
such as, 'Oh, that the Lord would gracious 
be ! ' " " Hold ! " replied the duke ; " must 
the devil, then, be gracious ? Whose grace 
are we to seek, if not that of God only ? " 
It is hardly necessary to add that the hymns 
continued to be sung in the chapel. 

In 1529, a Romish priest preached at 
Lubeck, and just as he ended his homily, 
two boys struck up the hymn of Luther, 
" O God, from heaven now behold ! " when 
the whole assembly joined as with one 
voice ; and this was repeated whenever any 
one spake against the evangelical Church.* 

Something like this occurred at Heidel- 
berg. " On one occasion, a priest was 
about to begin the service, standing at the 
high altar, when a single voice led off the 

* Evenings with the Poets, page 101. 






FAMILY. 75 

beginning of the famous hymn of Paul 
Speratus, ' Es ist das Heil uns kommen her! 
The vast congregation immediately joined ; 
and the elector, taking this as a sufficient 
suffrage of his people, proceeded to intro- 
duce the communion in both kinds ; for, 
hitherto, Frederick, from fear of the empe- 
ror, had delayed suppressing the mass. It 
was Luther's hymns and tunes combined 
that did the work." * 

A very curious incident is related of that 
remarkable hymn, which seemed to embody 
in verse the religious experience of Luther, 
" Song of praise for redeeming love," and 
which begins, 

"Dear Christian people, all rejoice, 
Each soul with joy upspringing ; 
Pour forth your song with heart and voice, 
With love and gladness singing. ' ' 

It is said that in 1557, a convention of 

* Evenings with the Poets, page 102. 



7 6 FA MIL Y. 

princes of the reformed religion, at Frank- 
fort, wished to introduce a Protestant ser- 
vice in the Church of St. Bartholomew. A 
large assembly was present ; but the pulpit 
was occupied by a priest, who proceeded 
to set forth the peculiar doctrines of the 
Romish Church. For a time the people 
listened in sullen silence ; but at last the 
whole congregation rose and began to sing 
this hymn, till they fairly sang the priest 
out of the church. 

In these fragmentary allusions to the 
hymns of Luther, as sung by people of 
every class, not only in schools and churches, 
but in the markets and fields, the streets 
and homes of Germany, we cannot fail to 
see how mighty must have been their influ- 
ence upon the masses in advancing the 
cause of the Reformation. And then it 
was not only what Luther himself did in 
psalmody, but what he inspired others to 



FA MIL Y. 77 

do, who caught his spirit, embraced his 
doctrines, and tuned their lyres in the ser- 
vice of Protestantism. Wetzel, in 1 718, 
estimated the printed German hymns at 
fifty-five thousand, of which sacred lyrics, 
Hans Sachs alone wrote about five thous- 
and. It may not, therefore, be too much 
for Coleridge to say that Luther did as 
much for the Reformation by his hymns as 
by his translation of the Bible. For after 
all, these hymns contained the substance of 
God's truth, in Luther's strong, scriptural, 
Saxon words, and dropped in music into 
the hearts of the people, as dew melts into 
the heart of a flower. 

We cannot better close this chapter of 
Luther's home-life than by commending to 
all Christians his practice of singing hymns. 
" Let the word of Christ dwell in you 
richly, in all wisdom ; teaching and admon- 
ishing one another in psalms and hymns 



yS FA MIL Y. 

and spiritual songs, singing with grace in 
your hearts to the Lord." 

Let every Christian sing. It will keep 
warm in his heart the love of Jesus, and 
diffuse a heavenly peace through the soul. 
And especially should Christians sing in 
times of depression and sorrow. So did 
Jesus. In that memorable night in which 
Christ and his disciples went out to the 
garden, they sang a hymn. Before Jesus 
were the agony and the cross and Calvary; 
before the apostles was the sad thought of 
separation : and yet they sang, not some 
mournful song, but a hymn of praise and 
exultation, such as, "The Lord is my 
strength and my song, and is become my 
salvation." 

So Luther, whenever the sky was dark 
and threatening, would say, Come, let us 
sing the forty-sixth Psalm. As he ap- 
proached Worms, as already mentioned, 






FA MIL Y. 79 

he rose in his chariot, and sang Ein Feste 
Burg ist unser Gott. During the Diet of 
Augsburg, when fainting with mental anxi- 
ety, he said, " Let us praise God by sing- 
ing the hymn, ' Out of the depths I cry to 
Thee.' " And so should any Christian, when 
sad and despondent, sing hymns of praise. 
It will calm the troubled soul and soothe 
the aching heart. He will go forth with a 
firmer step and a more hopeful spirit to his 
Gethsemane and Calvary, if he goes sing- 
ing, " Why art thou cast down, oh my soul ? 
and why art thou disquieted within me? hope 
thou in God ; for I shall yet praise Him, who 
is the health of my countenance and my 
God." 

Let Christians, like Luther, sing in the 
family. It will quicken the social virtues, 
deepen the home affections, and beautify 
the household with peace and harmony. 
One of the sweetest memories of a Chris- 



80 FA MIL Y. 

tian home is the recollection of the hymns 
and music of family worship. 

In Kcenig's picture, we see Luther exer- 
cising himself and family in the first evan- 
gelical church melodies. He was specially 
concerned for the training of children in 
singing church music. In the preface to his 
first collection of hymns, he says : " These 
hymns are set to music in four parts, for no 
other reason than that the young people, 
who ought at all events to be instructed in 
music and other proper arts, might be rid 
of their silly songs, and, instead, have 
something good and useful as becometh 
the young. I should be glad to see all arts, 
and especially music, employed in the ser- 
vice of God." Not only did Luther teach 
his own children music, but insisted upon its 
being taught in the schools of the Church. 
"A school-master must be able to sing, 
otherwise I will have nothing to do with 
him." 



FAMILY 8 1 

It would be well for Christians of our 
day to follow the example of Luther in this 
peculiarity of his home-life. Let there be 
music in the family. The singing of 
hymns is one of the most eminent ways in 
which the household can have a conscious 
presence of Jesus, and realize the sweet 
unity of peace and love. Let the children 
learn to sing. The spring-time of life, 
like that of nature, may fitly begin with 
song. The hymns of the Church sung by 
the child are woven into the creed of the 
man. The great doctrines of Christianity 
liquefied by song, may flow into the young 
heart by hymns, and abide there as " a well 
of water, springing up 'into everlasting 
life. ,, Many a child has found Jesus in the 
words and music of a Christian hymn. 
The sweet invitation of the Saviour, Suffei" 
little children to come unto me, has been 
sung into the young heart, and touched it 



82 FA MIL Y. 

with a responsive love and consecration. 
How beautiful the story of the little girl 
thus brought to Jesus, who, as she lay 
in her last sickness, looked up to her mo- 
ther with a hopeful smile, and grasping her 
hand, said : " Mother, sing to me of 
heaven ! " These words of the dying 
child have been thus versified for the 
young by an American poet: 

" Oh, sing to me of heaven, when I am called to die ! 
Sing songs of holy ecstasy to waft my soul on high. 
Then to my raptured ears let one sweet song be 

given ; 
Let music charm me last on earth, and greet me 

first in heaven ! ' ' 




SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS 
FAMILY. 



83 





SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

N Kcenig's pictured life of Luther, 
there is a domestic garden-scene, 
in which the great Reformer appears with 
his family, encompassed with the fruits and 
flowers of summer. The artist's work 
would have been incomplete without this 
beautiful memorial of Luther ; for his 
heart ever opened in the free air, in the 
sights and shows of the passing seasons ; 
and to his poetical fancy nature was full 
of symbols and spiritual suggestions. 

"The picture shows him in the enjoy- 
ment of all that imparts delight to summer, 
8 85 



86 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

with his household and his most familiar 
friends about him. It is a charming scene 
of innocent festivity which the artist here 
brings before the eye. Under a trellis, 
mantled with vines loaded with rich clus- 
ters of grapes, the party is assembled at 
sunset. Luther holds out his hands to his 
youngest child, who, by the aid of his mo- 
ther, is tottering towards his father, with a 
bunch of grapes weighing down his little 
hands. The oldest boy, mounted on a light 
ladder, hands down the grapes, which 
Madeleine receives in her apron. The 
third boy is bringing to his father a cluster 
remarkable for its size ; the second son is 
playing with the dog — perhaps that very 
dog which Luther said had ' looked upon 
many books.' The ground is covered 
with melons. One of Luther's friends 
plays upon the flute, another sketches a 
basket of beautiful fruit ; two of them sit 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 87 

beneath the arbor, and two others wander 
about the garden in friendly converse. 
Through an arch in the wall, the river is 
seen winding gently along, under the last 
rays of the declining sun. What a change 
from the time of scourging before the 
crucifix ! "* 

This is a fine description of the beautiful 
picture ; but the young reader may want to 
know something more about the dog, which 
seems to look so intently, and with such a 
sober face, at that large bunch of grapes 
which the third boy is showing to his fa- 
ther. There is a sad and oldish look 
about his face ; and we are disposed to be- 
lieve that he is the same dog which Luther 
brought with him from Wartburg, as a gift 
from the keeper of the castle, and that 
died of old age, after fifteen years spent at 
his master's feet, where he was wont to re- 

* Dr. Krauth's Conservative Reformation, page 34. 



88 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

pose while Luther was writing. Hence, 
Luther said, in allusion to the theologians 
who boasted of having seen so many books: 
" Aye, and my dog also has seen many 
books, — more, probably, than Faber him- 
self, who has nothing in his mouth but Fa- 
thers and councils. I know that Faber has 
seen many books : I do not envy him his 
glory." 

It was a happy idea of the artist to pic- 
ture this domestic garden-scene of Luther's 
summer joys with his family, for it gives us 
at once a glimpse of the great Reformer in 
his love of home, of children, of nature and 
flowers. He was both a poet and a phi- 
losopher. Some one says of Hume, that 
he could fetch you the leg of a metaphysi- 
cal notion from the Central Africa of Duns 
Scotus or Thomas Aquinas in the twinkling 
of an eye ; but he seems never to have 
gone out of his closet long enough to see 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 89 

what there was in nature, or whether there 
was any such thing as nature at all." * 
Not so with Luther. He was as great a 
lover of nature as he was of music and 
poetry. He looked upon all natural ob- 
jects with a poetic eye r and to his imagi- 
nation the outer world was full of beautiful 
symbols and spiritual suggestions. 

"And so the very flowers seemed silent hymns,. 
And by their aspect of persuasive bloom 
Remind him oft of Eden, long no more ; 
Or bid him muse on what the world may be 
When second paradise again shall dawn." f" 

Doubtless botany has its value ; but the 
flowers knew how to preach divinity before 
men knew how to dissect and botanize them ; 
for long before botany as a science was 
dreamed of, Luther had divined the prin- 
ciple of vegetable life. He said: "The 
principle of marriage runs through all cre- 

* Hudson's Lectures on Shakspeare. 
f Luther : A Poem. By Robert Montgomery. 
8* 



90 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

ation, and flowers as well as animals are 
male and female." But he loved nature 
more as a poet than as a scientist, as is 
manifest from his many poetical sentiments 
about nature, and his rare enjoyment of the 
garden and all natural objects ; for poetry 
is but the true and the good seen under the 
aspect of the beautiful. And so to Luther 
often the commonest thing becomes an 
Aaron's rod, and buds and blossoms out 
into poetry ; and in this respect he was like 
Burns, to whom the sight of a mountain 
daisy unsealed the fountains of his nature, 
and who embalmed the " bonny gem" in the 
beauty of his spirit. 

The summer-garden sometimes drew 
from him a strain of sentiment and feeling 
as beautiful as a finished piece of poetry. 
One day, in early spring, as he was watch- 
ing the swelling buds, he exclaimed : 

" Praise be to God the Creator, who out 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 9 1 

of a dead world makes all alive again. See 
those shoots, how they sprout and swell ! 
Image of the resurrection of the dead ! 
Winter is death ; summer is the resurrec- 
tion. Between them lie spring and autumn, 
as the period of uncertainty and change. 
The proverb says : 

' Trust not a day 
Ere birth of May.' 

Let us pray our Father in heaven to give 
us this day our daily bread." 

At another time he said : " We are in the 
dawn ol a new era ; we are beginning to 
think something of the natural world which 
was ruined in Adam's fall. We are learn- 
ing to see all around us the greatness and 
glory of the Creator. We can see the 
Almighty hand, the infinite goodness, in the 
humblest flower. We praise Him, we glo- 
rify Him ; we recognize in creation the 



92 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

power of his word. He spoke, and it was 
there. The stone of the peach is hard; but 
the soft kernel swells, and bursts it when 
the time comes. An egg — what a thing is 
that ! If an egg had never been seen in 
Europe, and a traveller had brought one 
from Calcutta, how would the world have 
wondered ! " 

And again : " If a man could make a sin- 
gle rose, we should give him an empire ; 
yet roses, and flowers no less beautiful, are 
scattered in profusion over the world, and 
no one regards them." * 

In writing to his friend Link, at Nurem- 
berg, he asks him to send him seeds for 
the garden, and says: "If Satan and his 
imps rave and roar, I shall laugh at him, 
and admire and enjoy, to the Creator's 
praise, God's blessings in the garden." On 
another occasion, he wrote to Spalatin : " I 

* Froude's Times of Erasmus and Luther. 



SUMMER JOYS WITH BIS FAMILY. 93 

have planted my garden, and made a foun- 
tain in the centre of it. Come and see us, 
and you shall be crowned with lilies and 
roses." When the seeds sent him by his 
old friend Link began to sprout, he wrote 
to him, with the simple joy of a child : " My 
melons are growing; my gourds are filling 
up. What a blessing ! " 

Luther had a pure, sanctified poetical 
feeling, sensitive to every phase of natural 
beauty; and to this inner, spiritual vision 
the world was full of symbols and suggest- 
ions of divine things. Once, he looks out 
from his solitary Patmos, the castle of Co- 
burg, in the middle of the night ; the great 
vault of immensity, long flights of clouds 
sailing through it, — dumb, gaunt, huge; 
who supports all that? None ever saw 
the pillars of it ; yet it is supported. God 
supports it. We must know that God is 
great, that God is good, and trust where 



94 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

we cannot see. Returning home from 
Leipsic once, he is struck by the beauty of 
the harvest-fields. How it stands, that 
golden, yellow corn, on its fair taper stem, 
its golden head bent, all rich and waving 
there ! the meek earth, at God's bidding, 
has produced it once again — the bread of 
man.* 

It is said of Linnaeus, that he sometimes 
studied the flowers on his knees. So did 
Luther. We are told that he often knelt 
down to admire them more closely. "Poor 
violet," he would say ; " what a perfume you 
exhale ! It would, however, be still more 
agreeable if Adam had not sinned. Oh, 
rose, how I admire your colors, which would 
be still more brilliant had it not been for 
the sin of the first man ! How thy beauty, 
O lily, effaces that of the princes of the 
world ! What, then, would it be, if Adam 

* Spiritual Portrait of Luther, by Thomas Carlyle, page 216. 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 95 

had not disobeyed his Creator ? " He be- 
lieved that after Adam's fall God deprived 
the earth of a portion of the gifts he had 
first imparted to it. " Nature, however," 
said he, " has not been niggardly towards 
man. The murmuring of rivulets, the odor 
of flowers, the breath of winds, and the 
rustling of leaves, are made so many hymns 
chanted to the Creators praise ; whereas 
man forgets Him altogether since his sin ! 
Oh ! man, how great would have been your 
happiness had not Adam sinned ! You 
would have seen and admired God in all 
His works ; and the smallest flower or plant 
would have been for you the exhaustless 
source of meditation on. the goodness and 
magnificence of Him who created the world. 
If God has made the rocks bud forth such 
flowers, with such sweet perfume, and such 
brilliant colors that no painter can success- 
fully imitate them, what endless variety of 



g6 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

flowers, of all colors, — blue, yellow, red, — 
could not He produce from the earth ? " * 

Luther had little sympathy or patience 
with men who were insensible to the beau- 
ties of nature. He once said : " Poor Eras- 
mus, what do you care how the fruit is 
formed, matured, or developed. You know 
nothing of the beauty or grandeur of cre- 
ation. . . . Tell Erasmus to admire these 
wonders ; but they are above his capacity. 
He looks on creatures as a calf looks at a 
new door." f 

DOMESTIC GARDEN-SCENE. 

In Kcenig's picture, we see Luther and 
his family and a few friends in the social 
enjoyments of summer. He is himself a 
child among the flowers and the children. 
He forgets all his troubles in the innocent 

* Life of Martin Luther, by Audin, 368. 

f Siehet cr die Creaturen an, wie die Kiihe em Neuthor. 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. $? 

pleasures of the garden, into which he en- 
ters with such uncommon zest and merri- 
ment. It is said of Dr. Chalmers, that in 
the darkest hours of the Free Church of 
Scotland, he would say to his children, 
" Come, let us go out and play ball or fly 
the kite ; " and often in the sport the children 
could not keep up with the father. So, in 
times of the greatest anxiety and suspense, 
when the whole future of the Reformation 
work seemed trembling in the balance, Lu- 
ther would turn to his children. As an in- 
stance of this, and as opening a window 
into the great man's heart in this garden- 
scene, we give here, as the most fitting 
place, his letter to his little son John. It 
reveals his love and sympathy for his chil- 
dren, even in the most troublous times. It 
is one of the most beautiful pages in the 
life of Luther. He was confined in the 
castle of Coburg while the Imperial Diet 
9 g 



98 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

at Augsburg was in session, before which 
the Reformed Confession was about to be 
presented. Walking one day in Coburg, 
he stopped before a toy-shop, and was over- 
come with tender thoughts of home and his 
little son. On returning to the castle, he 
laid aside the second Psalm, which he was 
translating into German, and took up his 
pen and wrote this beautiful letter to his 
son John, then four years old : 

" Grace and peace in Christ, my dear 
little son. I am very glad to know that 
you learn your lessons well and love to 
say your prayers. Keep on doing so, my 
little boy, and when I come home, I will 
bring you something pretty from the fair. 
I know of a beautiful garden, where there 
are a great many children in fine little 
coats, and they go under the trees and 
gather beautiful apples and pears, cherries 
and plums ; they sing, and run about, and 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 99 

are as happy as they can be. Sometimes 
they ride about on nice little ponies, with 
golden bridles and silver saddles. I asked 
the man whose garden it is, What little chil- 
dren are these? And he told me, They 
are little children who love to pray and 
learn, and are good. Then I said: My 
dear sir, I have a little boy at home; his 
name is little Hans Luther ; would you let 
him come into the garden, too, to eat some 
of these nice apples and pears, and ride on 
these fine little ponies, and play with these 
children? The man said: If he loves to 
say his prayers, and learn his lesson, and 
is a good boy, he may come. And Philip 
and Jocelin may come too ; and when they 
are all together, they can play on the fife 
and drum and lute and all kinds of instru- 
ments, and skip about, and shoot with little 
cross-bows. He then showed me a beau- 
tiful mossy place in the middle of the gar- 



I OO S UMME R JOYS WI TH HIS FA MIL Y 

den, for them to skip about in, with a great 
many golden fifes and drums, and silver 
cross-bows. The children had not yet had 
their dinner, and I could not wait to see 
them play, but I said to the man : My dear 
sir, I will go away and write all about it to 
my little son, John, and tell him to be fond 
of saying his prayers, and learn much, and 
be good, so that he may come into this 
garden ; but he has a Cousin Lehne, whom 
he must bring along with him. The man 
said, Very well ; go write to him. Now, my 
dear little son, love your lessons and your 
prayers, and tell Philip and Jocelin to do 
so too, that you may all come to the gar- 
den. May God bless you. Give Cousin 
Lehne my love, and kiss her for me." 

This simple and touching letter opens 
another window in the heart of Luther, 
and illumines this loving family gathering 
in the garden. The picture shows us only 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. IOI 

one of the many garden-scenes in his life. 
The neat little parlor, with its windows 
shaded by vines instead of silken drapery, 
opened into a garden where Catharine and 
Luther often walked in pleasant converse. 
At one time you might see him working in 
his garden, going to the fountain to get 
water for his flower-plots, and as proud of 
his blooming shrubbery almost as of his 
translation of the New Testament. Pfizer 
says : " He loved his garden so much be- 
cause, when assailed by the devil, he could 
take up the spade, and thus laughing in his 
sleeve at Satan, escape from him among 
flowers." * At another time, Catharine 
would pluck a branch loaded with cher- 
ries, and put it upon his table in primitive 
simplicity ; or she would treat him with a 
mess of fish from his own little pond in the 
garden ; and such little attentions of deli- 

* Gustav. Pfizer. 



102 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

cate kindness, not only gave her so much 
innocent pleasure, but awakened in him 
feelings of grateful love, and sent his 
thoughts singing to the Father of mercies 
and fountain of all good. 

One beautiful spring day, Luther and 
Catharine were walking in the garden for 
some time, in silent admiration of the blos- 
soming trees and new-born flowers, and in 
quiet enjoyment of the sweetness and 
beauty of the scene, when Luther sud- 
denly exclaimed : " Glory to God, who calls 
all nature to new life ! See those trees ! 
they are already filled with fruit. What a 
striking image of the resurrection. Look 
at this flower ; it was broken at the stem 
last August. When all other flowers are 
withered, this is fresh and fair, and there- 
fore it is called amaranthus, and in winter 
people make garlands of it. So is God's 
word ; it will never lose its freshness, never 
wither nor decay." 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. IO3 

One evening, about sunset, he saw a 
little bird perched upon a tree, and settling 
itself for the night. "That little bird," 
said he, "has chosen its place of rest; 
above it are the stars and deep heaven of 
worlds, yet it has folded its little wings ; 
gone trustfully to rest there as in its home, 
and leaves God to think of its to-morrow." 

A little bird once built itself a nest in his 
garden. Sometimes the passers-by would 
frighten it away. Seeing this, the Doctor 
would say: "Ah, dear little bird, do not 
flee ; from my heart I wish thee no harm, 
if thou couldst but believe me. So we 
often do not trust in God, who, so far from 
doing us any evil, has given us everything, 
even his own Son." 

Luther had a peculiarly scriptural and 
illustrative way of speaking to his family, 
turning the every-day things of life to re- 
ligious uses and ends. One evening, as 



104 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

the cows were returning from pasture, he 
said : " Behold ! there go our preachers ; 
there are our milk-bearers, butter-bearers, 
cheese- and wool-bearers, which do daily 
preach to us faith towards God, that we 
should trust in Him as our loving Father, 
who careth for us, and will maintain and 
nourish us." Playing with one of his chil- 
dren, who was full of the gayety and sports 
of childhood, he said : " Thou art the inno- 
cent little simpleton of our Lord, under 
grace, and not under the law. Thou hast 
no fear and no anxiety ; all that thou doest 
is well done. We old simpletons torment 
ourselves by endless disputes upon the 
Word. We ought to follow the example 
of little children, and simply trust the word 
of the Lord." One day, looking at little 
Martin playing with his dog, he said : " This 
boy preacheth God's words by his deeds 
and acts ; for God saith : ' Have dominion 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 105 

over the fishes of the sea and over the. 
beasts of the field.' See how the dog 
putteth up with everything from him." 

Luther with his children in the garden 
turned its very beauty into a ministry of 
spiritual culture and refinement, getting les- 
sons of trust and simplicity for the children 
from the birds and the flowers ; making the 
garden, so fresh and musical about them, 
suggestive of something yet more beauti- 
ful to come. And so, even to the children, 
with the blue sky bending over them as if 
in silent benediction, the summer-garden 
became the symbol of a sunnier and hap- 
pier paradise. 

One day his children were admiring the 
color of a peach, then a rare fruit, of which 
Luther had received a present. " Look 
you, my children," said the Doctor ; " this is 
but a feeble image of what you may one 
day see on high. Before their fall, Adam 



106 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

and Eve had peaches as beautiful as this, 
and even more so, compared with which 
our peaches are but wild pears." In this 
delicate and somewhat sentimental way he 
turned the thoughts of the children, in sym- 
pathy with his own, to the bright future of 
this world. He gave them to understand 
that what they so much admired in the 
beauty of the flowers and the song of the 
birds and the glory of the summer sky, was 
but a faint aurora of the new heavens and 
the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteous- 
ness. 

In this way Luther set his home-life on 
earth in spiritual and hopeful sympathy 
with the home in heaven. The old Romans 
held the face of the new-born child to the 
stars, indicating by the touching supersti- 
tion that it was destined to a higher life be- 
yond the skies. Luther, in his family reli- 
gion, gave the true expression to that dim 



SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 107 

pagan yearning, in the baptismal welcome 
and Christian consecration of the child ; 
embosoming the young immortal in the 
love of God, surrounding it with all that is 
pure and beautiful in nature and art, and 
stimulating its spiritual development by the 
genial and sunny atmosphere of a cheerful 
household piety, so that the child, under 
such warm and heavenly ministries, might 
grow in the nurture of the Lord, and open 
its heart to heaven as naturally as the flower 
opens its beauty to the sun. And such a 
genial, happy Christian home becomes a 
living and sanctifying memory, so that the 
child in all the after-life will look back to it 
with the sentiment — 

"The thought of those first years in me doth breed 
Perpetual benediction." 

Luther, in his summer joys with his family 
in the garden, gave to Germany and to all 



108 SUMMER JOYS WITH HIS FAMILY. 

lands the true ideal type of a cheerful, 
happy, Christian home. And if we take 
with us through life the memory and influ- 
ence of our early years, how important that 
the home of childhood should be one of 
beauty and culture and refinement, of inno- 
cent pleasure and cheerful hope, sanctified 
by the word of God and prayer ; so that 
the youth and the man, even to old age, 
may live in the past, the soul's first ideal, 
and bless Heaven 

['.... for those first affections, 
Those shadowy recollections 
Which, be they what they may, 
Are yet the fountain light of all our day. ' ' 



WINTER PLEASURES. 



109 




WINTER PLEASURES. 



m 



E pass from that summer garden- 
scene to the winter fireside. And 
to a man like Luther, full of sympathy with 
nature in her ever-varying moods and sea- 
sons, winter would bring its own pleasures 
as well as summer. Winter is specially 
the season for home-joys, as it is for mental 
development and progress. Our own Pres- 
cott has said, in his peculiar way, " I think 
better of snow-storms since I find that, 
though they keep a man's body indoors, 
they bring his mind out." And while it is 
true that the soil is more fruitful as you 
approach the tropics, what is taken out of 



in 



112 WINTER PLEASURES. 

the land is put into the man as you touch 
the snow. And winter, outwardly so cold 
and ungenial, has its own peculiar blessings, 
especially for the family. It develops and 
strengthens the social affections. The 
frowning face of nature, like the dark 
cloud of adversity, lends a charm to all 
the inner life, and augments the sympa- 
thies and pleasures of home. 

From what we have seen of Luther in 
the garden, we can easily fancy how he 
would gather the family more closely and 
lovingly about the fireside, and sit in the 
warm light of a winter evening; and how, 
as he listens to the cold bleak winds, he 
would feel his heart warmed with grateful 
praise for his mercies, and touched with 
pity for the poor and needy. Perhaps, as 
the snow falls and beats about the home, 
and his heart grows tender in its thankful- 
ness, and reaches out into the dreary storm, 



WINTER PLEASURES. 113 

he would think of the little bird which he 
saw going to sleep on a tree in his summer- 
garden, and wonder what has become of it ; 
and, if not in the words, yet with the feel- 
ings of Burns, he might say : 

"Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing, 
That in the merry month o' spring 
Delighted us to hear thee sing, — 

What comes o' thee ? 
Whaur wilt thou cower thy chittering wing, 

And close thy ee ? " 

At all events, we think it likely Luther 
would moralize about the things of winter 
as he did in the summer-garden. The snow- 
flakes would send his thoughts heavenward, 
whence the wonder came ; and it would be 
natural for one so poetical to see in them 
a beautiful testimony to the Sermon on the 
Mount, and, by a natural suggestion, to ex- 
tend Christ's great lesson of summer into 
winter. He might not consider the snow- 

10* H 



114 WINTER PLEASURES. 

flakes as so many regular crystals, shaped 
with the most delicate art into hexagons, — 
clustered foliage of interlacing network,— 
but looking at the snow, as it robes the 
fields, to keep warm the seeds and germs 
of the coming spring, and how softly this 
winter robe, woven like gossamer by the 
divine fingers, falls like a dream over the 
frosty earth, gently as the evening dew 
upon summer flowers, he would see in this 
the same Providence that gives to the lily 
its summer beauty, and cares for the birds 
of the air. And so the winter would touch 
his heart with filial trust in his heavenly 
Father, whose hand reaches down to the 
snow-flakes as to the brilliant constellations 
of heaven ; and for him, in dreary winter, 
as in blooming summer, there is no anxious 
thought for the morrow. For not a snow- 
flake or a sparrow can fall without his 
heavenly Father, and the very hairs of his 
head are all numbered. 



WINTER PLEASURES. 115 

HOME IN WINTER. 

The transition from the summer garden 
to the winter fireside is natural and easy. 
And we feel something of the exhilaration 
of the season as we see Luther with his 
family on Christmas eve. Gelzer, follow- 
ing Koenig's pictorial life of Luther, says : 
" Upon the pleasures of summer follow 
those of winter, — the Christmas festival, — 
and the garden which now delights Luther's 
eyes are his children, whom he looked upon 
as God's greatest blessing." One day, when 
his friend Justus Jonas hung over the table 
a branch loaded with beautiful cherries, in 
remembrance of the creation, and praised 
the Lord for such delicious fruits of the 
earth, Luther said : " Why do you not 
much rather consider this in your children 
— fruits which are more excellent, beauti- 
ful and noble creatures of God than any 



Il6 WINTER PLEASURES. 

fruits of trees ? " He spoke of children as 
the choicest gifts of heaven. When John, 
his first child was born, with a heart over- 
flowing with gratitude, he wrote at once to 
his old friend Spalatin, informing him of the 
joyous event : " God be praised, I am a fa- 
ther. Catharine, my dear wife, has presented 
me with a son. I am, thank God, a father. 
I wish with all my heart that heaven may 
give you the same and even greater happi- 
ness, for you are much better than I." 

Luther was never happier than when 
surrounded by his wife and children. He 
seemed to be in the most delightful sympa- 
thy with all their curious fancies and sim- 
ple merriment. He would often gather 
them about him, and with a few congenial 
friends spend the evening in singing and 
music. He once said to Melancthon : "We 
ought not always to serve God with labor, 
but also with resting and recreation/' It 



WINTER PLEASURES. WJ 

was in the sunshine of his children, in their 
sports and laughter and singing, that the 
great Reformer forgot the storm of the 
outer world ; and the cloud of anxious 
cares about the Church melted away in the 
sunny memories of his own innocent and 
happy childhood. Many a time during 
those dark days of the Reformation, Lu- 
ther might have found in those beautiful 
words of Longfellow the truest expression 
of his thoughts and feelings : 

" Come to me, O ye children ! 
For I hear you at your play ; 
And the questions that perplexed me 
Have vanished quite away. 

"Ye open the eastern windows, 
That look towards the sun, — 
Where thoughts are singing swallows, 
And the brooks of morning run. 

" In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine, 
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow, 
But in mine is the wind of Autumn 
And the first fall of the snow. 



Il8 WINTER PLEASURES. 

" Come to me, O ye children ! 
And whisper in my ear 
What the birds and the winds are singing 
In your sunny atmosphere. 

" For what are all our contrivings, 
And the wisdom of our books, 
When compared with your caresses, 
And the gladness of your looks? " 

CHRISTMAS EVE. 

Luther restored to Protestant Christen- 
dom the true ideal and experience of the 
old Christmas festival. All life to him was 
now a festival of joy and praise for the 
holy child Jesus. "He had found the 
Christ; and when he was not kneeling with 
the shepherds, he was singing with the 
angels." And this new consciousness and 
experience of a personal, present Saviour, 
illumined and sanctified the memory of his 
early Christmas days. In his old age, he 
speaks of his school-years at Magdeburg 



WINTER PLEASURES. 1 19 

with delightful reminiscences of Christmas : 
" At the season when the Church keeps the 
festival of Christ's birth, we scholars went 
through the hamlets, from house to house, 
singing in quartette the familiar hymns 
about Jesus, the little child born at Bethle- 
hem." 

And not only to Luther, but to all the 
Protestant families of Germany, Christmas 
eve came with a new welcome of joy. 
"The eyes of men grew bright, and those 
of women were suffused with tears of 
gratitude, and children shouted for glad- 
ness at the mention of the name of one 
who had led back the race to the cradle, 
and taught them how to bow there, as did 
the shepherds, in childlike trust — trust not 
in the mother, but in her holy child." * 

In one of Kcenig's happiest illustrations, 
we have Luther with his family on Christ- 

* Conservative Reformation. 



120 WINTER PLEASURES. 

mas eve. The Christmas-tree, in olden 
times, represented the birth of the Christ- 
Kindlein. At the foot of the tree was the 
manger, with the mother and her holy 
child. But these have disappeared, and 
the only figure remaining is the announcing 
angel, at the top of the tree, which is some- 
times mistaken for the Christ-child, and 
which is usually taken down, as soon as the 
child-drama of Christmas begins, and given 
to the angel of the household — the best 
of the children. 

The artist has given us a true picture of 
Luther with his family on Christmas eve. 
In the centre stands the Christmas-tree all 
ablaze with lights, and hung with cakes and 
fruits and toys, that so delight the tastes 
and fancies of children. Near by Luther 
stands Catharine, leaning on his shoulder, 
with her hand clasped in his, and looking 
into his face with all the devotion and ten- 



WINTER PLEASURES. 121 

derness of a wife and mother. On the left 
is Melancthon, directing Martin, the oldest 
boy, how to hit an apple on the tree with 
his cross-bow. On the right is Aunt Lena 
showing Paul the pictures in a book lying 
open on the table. In front of the table 
sits Madeleine, the eldest daughter, who, un- 
mindful of the little wagon and doll by her 
side, is holding aloft the angel of the 
Christmas festival, in childlike ecstasy. 
There is, however, a shade of sadness on 
her happy face, upturned in the light of the 
tree to the little angel, as if she had some 
presentiment of soon becoming an angel 
herself. The third boy, in the midst of his 
sports, with his. toy yet in his hand, has 
run to clasp his father's knee ; whilst the 
youngest child has just come from its cra- 
dle, with its slip and night-cap, and bare 
feet, and nestling on the father's bosom, 

lovingly clasps him around the neck. This 
ii 



122 WINTER PLEASURES. 

is the finishing touch to the picture, and re- 
minds one of the description by one of our 
American poets, which could not be more 
real if it had been written for this Christ- 
mas scene : 

" An infant came from its cradle bed, 
And clung to the mother's breast ; 
But soon to the knee of the sire it sped : 
Love was its gift, and the angels said 
That the baby's gift was best." 

If now, to what meets the eye, we add 
music, — the Christmas hymn, and the chil- 
dren's hosanna, — the picture is perfect as 
a representation of a domestic Christmas 
eve. And this musical feature is sug- 
gested by the artist, in the instrument by 
Luther's side, leaning against his knee, as 
if he had just paused in some sweet 
melody and put down the lute for the 
caresses of the child and the fond endear- 
ment of the mother. It is truly a picture 



WINTER PLEASURES. 1 23 

that touches the heart. It moreover brings 
into living view the great Reformer in the 
sweet, domestic enjoyment of Christmas, 
the happiest season of the year, and most 
exhilarating social festival of the Church. 

Luther, in his teaching, restored to 
Christendom the true conception of the 
Christ-child, and the true meaning of the 
angels' song over the wonders of Bethle- 
hem ; and in his own experience and ex- 
ample, he has given the true ideal of 
Christmas in the family. This ideal of 
Christmas eve has mingled in the thoughts 
and songs and poetry oPour finest litera- 
ture. 

We hear it in the recitative of Handel's 
divine strain : " There were shepherds 
abiding in the fields," as exquisite for truth 
and simplicity as the cheek of innocence. 
We know how Milton has sung of these 
angelic symphonies in the ode, " On the 



124 WINTER PLEASURES. 

Morning of Christ's Nativity ; " and how 
Shakspeare has touched upon Christmas 
eve with a reverential tenderness sweet as 
if he had spoken it hushingly in a whisper. 

"Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes, 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrate, 
The bird of dawning singeth all night long, 
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad : 
The nights are wholesome ; then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm ; 
So hallow' d and so gracious is the time." 

Upon which, Horatio observes, in a sen- 
tence remarkable for the breadth and deli- 
cacy of its sentiment, 

"So have I heard, and do in part believe it ; " 

that is to say, he believed all that was 
worthy, and recognized the balmy and 
Christian impression produced upon well- 
disposed and sympathetic minds by reflec- 
tion on the Christmas season.* 

* Leigh Hunt : A Day by the Fire. 



WINTER PLEASURES. 125 

And so, as of old in Luther's home, let 

v 

Christmas be hailed with a joyous welcome 
in all the families of Christendom. Let it 
be a Christian festival in the household as 
well as in the Church. Let it be a season 
for the warm outflow of all kindliness and 
love, and the sweet ministries of the heart- 
and home-life. Let every happy home be 
made happier by the Christmas-tree, with 
its fruit-laden branches dropping gifts into 
all hands. Christmas day brings a gift to 
all the world ; for though in many a poor 
man's home there be no tree, yet where the 
tree is absent the cross stands present. 
Happy is he who, on Christmas day, abides 
within its sacred shadow, and receives the 
gift of gifts which God gave to the world 
in Him who is " the chief among ten thou- 
sand, and the one altogether lovely." Then 
let all unite in the joy and the song of 

earth and heaven : 
11* 



126 WINTER PLEASURES. 

"Ring out, ye crystal spheres ; 
Once bless our human ears, 

If ye have power to touch our senses so ; 
And let your silver chime 
Move in melodious time, 

And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow, 
And with your ninefold harmony 
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. ' ' 

And then, in the genial warmth and 
sympathies of the season, let some tender 
heart-thoughts and kindly charities be given 
to the poor and homeless. For the return 
of every Christmas repeats the old German 
story of the poor and friendless outcast. 

" On a certain Christmas eve, in a Ger- 
man city, while a Christmas-tree was 
sparkling in every house, a poor, homeless 
orphan was wandering, faint, weary, and 
cold, through the streets. He gazed long- 
ingly at the windows from which joyful 
lights streamed. He knocked timidly at 
door after door, but was unheeded. He 
would fain have gained entrance to one of 



WINTER PLEASURES. I27 

those happy households, merely to look on, 
but no one heard him. At last he retired 
sick and miserable to a dark corner, and 
there, as he shivered with the cold of the 
December night, he remembered that an 
answer was promised to every sincere 
prayer. So he prayed to the Lord Jesus 
to give him a Christmas - tree. And as he 
prayed, he beheld a star in the distance ; 
and as he gazed, the star approached him, 
and he descried the glorious form of a 
beautiful child. It was the Christ-child 
who came to answer his prayer, and who 
drew down stars from heaven to light a 
Christmas-tree for the poor orphan. 

" And when the tree was all lighted, the 
Christ-child took the boy into the tree, and 
they were all wafted away into heaven. 
The next day the newspapers contained 
this item of city intelligence: 'Found in 
Street, the dead body of a boy, of 



128 WINTER PLEASURES. 

some eight or ten years of age, parents 
unknown ; coroner's verdict, death by 
starvation and cold.' The poor little out- 
cast had left the world, outwardly in cir- 
cumstances of extreme wretchedness, but 
inwardly in a dream of heaven, and in the 
arms of the Christ-child." 

And so, with every return of Christmas 
eve, let the home be bright with the Christ- 
mas-tree, and glad with the music of chil- 
dren and the song of Bethlehem ; and 
withal let the heart be tender and pitiful 
for the lonely outcast and neglected poor. 
And as through the cold, still night - air 
there comes echoing down the centuries 
the old, sweet, jubilant song of the angels 
over the cradle of the infant Saviour: 
" Glory to God in the highest, and on 
earth peace, good-will to man," let every 
heart be opened anew to the holy child 
Jesus ! And let the young and the old, 



WINTER PLEASURES. I29 

the home and the Church, yea, all Christen- 
dom unite to send back to heaven the song 
as angels brought it down : Glory to God 
in the highest! 

11 Joy to the world, the Lord has come ! 
Let earth receive her King : 
Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room, 
And heaven and nature sing." 




H3* 



^> 



HOME IN SORROW. 



131 





HOME IN SORROW. 

" 'T is sorrow builds the shining ladder up 
Whose golden rounds are our calamities, 
Whereon our firm feet planting, nearer God 
The spirit climbs, and hath its eyes unsealed." 

O portraiture of Luther's home-life 
would be true to nature and fact 
without those delicate shadings of sorrow 
which give to the picture its life-like com- 
pleteness and heavenly sanctity. And 
hence, the artist, in his picture-life of the 
great Reformer, conducts us from the gar- 
den joys of summer, and the fireside plea- 
sures of winter, to Luther kneeling by the 
coffin of Madeleine. The home but yester- 
day exhilarant with the music and festivities 

12 133 



134 HOME IN SORROW. 

of Christmas is now overcast with shadows, 
and is sad and tearful in the silence of a 
great sorrow. 

Luther found in his sad and early do- 
mestic experience that in his garden there 
was a sepulchre ; and that the little coffin 
soon followed the Christmas-tree within 
his door. " Thy babe, O Bethlehem, turned 
in the sleep of that hallowed night his 
pure, pale face toward Gethsemane. The 
angel of the Christmas-tree could not 
guard the home from life's sorrows." 
More than in the summer-garden, or by 
the winter fireside, do we learn to know 
Luther, in all the tenderness of his nature 
and reach of his faith, in his home of sor- 
row and bereavement. It is then we see 
him as he appeared to Carlyle : " I know 
few things more touching than those soft 
breathings of affection, soft as a child's or 
a mother's, in this great wild heart of Lu- 



HOME IN SORROW. 135 

ther. So honest, unadulterated with any- 
cant ; homely in their utterance ; pure as 
water welling from the rock." 

We pass from the sunny garden-scene 
to the shaded home, and from the hilarity 
and song of Christmas eve to the quiet 
vigils beside the couch of sickness, and to 
the deeper and sadder silence of death. 
It is but the picture of human life in its 
sudden alternations of joy and sorrow. 
For there is ever heard in the passing 
generations that plaintive sigh of the old 
bard on the banks of Ayr: 

"I 've seen yon weary, winter sun, 
Twice forty times return, 
And ev'ry time has added proof 
That man was made to mourn." 

In September, 1542, he was called from 
important Church interests, in Leipsic, to 
the bedside of his sick and dying child. 
One day, when she was in great suffering, 



136 HOME IN SORROW. 

he approached her bed, and taking hold of 
her little hands, covered them with kisses. 
" My dear child, my sweet, good Madeleine, 
I know you would like to remain with your 
father, but there is One still better in heaven 
waiting for you." 

"Oh, yes, dear father," answered the 
dying child ; " let the will of God be done." 

The father continued, as he walked the 
room with deep emotion, " Dear child, oh, 
how I love her! 'The spirit is willing, but 
the flesh is weak.' " He opened the Bible, 
and read the passage in Isaiah : " Thy dead 
men shall live ; together with my dead body 
shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that 
dwell in dust, for thy dew is as the dew of 
herbs, and the earth shall cast out her dead." 
He then said, " My daughter, enter thou 
into thy resting-place in peace." She turned' 
her eyes to him, with that last look of all 
mortal tenderness and immortal trust, and 



HOME IN SORROW. 1 37 

replied, with touching simplicity, " Yes, 
father." 

The night before Madeleine's death, her 
mother, weary with watching, reclined her 
head on the sick-bed and slept, and dreamed. 
The next morning, as soon as Melancthon 
came, she told him her dream. 

" I saw two young men, who seemed to 
be clad in robes of light, enter the room. 
I pointed to Madeleine, who lay in a quiet 
sleep, and made a sign to them not to dis- 
turb her ; but they said they came to con- 
duct her to the bridal ceremony." 

Melancthon was very much affected by 
this dream, and afterwards said to his wife, 
" These were holy angels that Catharine 
saw, and were sent to carry the maiden to 
the true nuptials of a heavenly kingdom." 

As the time of her departure drew near, 
she looked tenderly at her father and 
mother, and begged them not to weep for 



I38 HOME IN SORROW. 

her. With a sweet smile upon her pale 
and dying countenance, she said, " I go to 
my Father in heaven." Luther, deeply 
moved, threw himself on his knees by her 
bedside, and, with clasped hands and bitter 
tears, prayed the Lord to spare her. Soon 
her consciousness ceased, and she breathed 
her last in the arms of her father. Catha- 
rine, in the agony of her sorrow, had turned 
away, unable to look upon her dying child. 
When all was over, Luther gently laid the 
head of his dear child upon the pillow, say- 
ing, " Dear Madeleine, thou hast found a 
Father in heaven ! O my God, let thy will 
be done ! " Melancthon, who, with his 
wife, was present, observed that the love 
of parents for their children is an image 
of the divine love impressed on the hearts 
of men. God does not love the beings he 
has created less than parents love their 
children. 



HOME IN SORROW. I39 

The next day, Luther followed all that 
remained of his child to the grave ; and as 
the coffin was lowered, he exclaimed : " Fare- 
well, dear little Madeleine, farewell ! but 
we shall meet again. Thou shalt rise again ; 
shalt shine as the stars, yes, like the sun ! " 
And then after a short pause, he continued: 
" I am joyful in spirit, but oh, how sad in 
the flesh ! It is strange to know she is so 
happy in heaven, and yet to feel so sad ! " 

Then turning to the mother, who was 
weeping bitterly, he said : " Dear Catharine, 
remember where she is gone ! she has made 
a blessed exchange ! The heart bleeds ; it 
is natural it should ; but the spirit, the im- 
mortal spirit, rejoices. Happy are they 
who die young. Children do not doubt; 
they believe : with them all is trust, — they 
fall asleep in Jesus." 

" Some feelings are to mortals given 
With less of earth in them than heaven ; 



I40 HOME IN SORROW. 

And if there be a human tear 

From passion's dross refined and clear, — 

A tear so limpid and so meek 

It would not stain an angel's cheek, — 

'Tis that which Christian fathers shed 

Upon a pious daughter's head." 

After the funeral, many friends came to 
express their sympathy with the bereaved 
parents. In answer to their words of con- 
dolence, Luther said : " I thank you, kind 
friends, for your sympathy ; but do not grieve 
for me : I have given another angel to 
heaven. Oh, that we may each experience 
such a death ; such a death I would gladly 
accept this moment." 

To others, who addressed to him words 
of comfort, he said : " No, no ; I am not 
sad : my dear angel is in heaven ! " 

Among the many compensatory and 
comforting thoughts of Luther under this 
great sorrow are those expressed in the 
following paragraph : 



HOME IN SORROW. I4I 

" The fate of our children, and above all, 
of girls, is ever a cause of uneasiness. I 
do not fear so much for boys ; they can find 
a living anywhere, provided they know how 
to work. But it is different with girls. 
They, poor things, must search for employ- 
ment staff in hand. A boy can enter the 
schools and attain eminence ; but a girl can- 
not do much to advance herself, and is 
easily led away by bad example, and is 
lost. Therefore, without regret, I give up 
this dear one to our Lord. Children die 
without anguish ; they know not the bitter- 
ness of death ; it is as if they fell asleep." 

Over the grave of Madeleine was placed 
a tombstone with her name, age, the day 
of her death, and a text of Scripture. 
Some time after, Luther composed a Latin 
inscription, which was carved on a monu- 
mental slab ; and which breathes a spirit 
of subdued melancholy and resignation to 
God's will : 



142 HOME IN SORROW. 

" I, Luther's daughter Madeleine, with the saints here 
sleep, 
And, covered, calmly rest on this my couch of earth ; 
Daughter of death I was, born of the seed of sin, 
But by Thy precious blood redeemed, O Christ, I 
live!"* 

Soon after the burial, he wrote to his 
friend Justus Jonas : " You have no doubt 
heard of the birth of my Madeleine into the 
kingdom of Christ above. My wife and I 
ought to think only of praising God for 
her happy transition and peaceful end ; for 
by it she has escaped the power of the 
flesh, the world, the Turks, and the devil. 
Yet nature is strong, and I cannot bear 
this event without tears and groans, or, to 
speak more truly, without a broken heart. 
On my very soul are engraved the looks, 
the words, the gestures of my obedient, 
my loving child during her life and on the 
bed of death. Even the death of Christ 

* The Latin inscription is thus rendered in the " Conservative 
Reformation." 



HOME IN SORROW. 143 

(and what are all deaths in comparison 
with that ?) cannot tear her away from my 
thoughts, as it should. She was, as you 
know, so sweet and genial, so full of ten- 
derness and love." 

Luther never recovered fully from this 
affliction. It struck him to the heart. He 
looked upon it as an admonition of heaven ; 
it was another thunderbolt. The first had 
taken from him Alexis, the friend of his 
youth ; the second snatched from him an 
idolized child, the joy of his old age. From 
this time all his letters are tinged with 
melancholy : the raven wing of death was 
ever fluttering in his ear.* 

On receiving a letter from the Elector, 
who wished him many years of a long life, 
he shook his head, and answered his royal 
friend : " The pitcher has gone too often to 
the well ; it will break at last." One day, 

*Audin's Life of Luther, page 486. 



144 HOME IN SORROW. 

while preaching, he drew tears from his 
audience by announcing his approaching 
death : " The world is tired of me and I 
am tired of the world ; soon shall we be 
divorced — the traveller will soon quit his 
lodging." * 

The after-life of Luther was touched 
with a heavenly sadness. This affliction 
fell upon his home as the evening shadow 
falls, which at once hides the earth and un- 
veils the sky. The serene and mellowing 
light of heaven sanctified the earthly home, 
as it now seemed nearer the heavenly. 
There was still a subdued and solemn joy 
in bereavement, as he thought of the two 
little ones of his household not unclothed 
but clothed upon. And he was happy in 
the assurance that they were now nurslings 
of heaven, and that soon he should meet 
them there ; 

*Audin. 



HOME IN SORROW. I45 

"Forever and forever, 

Both in a happy home ; 
And there to stay a little while 
Till all the rest shall come." 

This last phase of Luther's home-life has 
the pensive charm and beauty of sanctified 
sorrow. We see how Luther, when the 
hand of God touched him, kissed that chas- 
tening hand of his heavenly Father in meek 
submission and unmurmuring trust. That 
noble form, which neither kings, nor popes, 
nor devils could bend, is bowed in tears 
and sorrow by the sick-bed of his little 
child. The brave heart that never quailed 
before the thunders of Rome or the fires 
of martyrdom is broken and tender as an 
infant's beside the coffin of his little Made- 
leine. And yet, in all that tribulation and 
bereavement, there is not a word or a mur- 
mur against the ways of Providence. He 
is heart-sick and unspeakably sad, yet 
13 k 



I46 HOME IN SORROW. 

sweetly quiescent in the divine love ; he is 
cast down and disquieted, but not in de- 
spair. And soon there is heard the old songs 
of faith and hope, " For God, our Maker, 
giveth songs in the night." And the song, 
like the nightingale's, is all the sweeter for 
the night. When all the instruments of 
human melody are broken, there is a hand 
that can touch the heart and waken the notes 
of melody and praise. And Luther felt 
the touches of that hand, and could exclaim 
with the Psalmist, " I will sing of mercy and 
judgment ; unto thee, O Lord, will I sing." 
And so that home of the great Reformer, 
in bereavement, is a touching illustration 
of the Christian family in its sanctified sor- 
rows and immortal hopes. 

Sometimes sickness and sorrow will over- 
cast our households with the shadow of 
death. Yes, afflictions will come to us all ; 
the spoiler will desolate our happy homes ; 



HOME IN SORROW. I47 

but Jesus, who was so near and precious to 
Luther in his hour of trial, and poured the 
light of the resurrection morn into his 
weeping household,is our friend and Saviour ; 
and will be with us with grace and sympa- 
thy, and with words of peace and unutter- 
able consolation. And when our loved 
ones depart, we shall know that our Re- 
deemer liveth, and that whosoever liveth 
and believeth in him shall never die : 

.... " And through the clouded glass 
Of our own bitter tears, we learn to look 
Undazzled on the kindness of God's face ; 
Earth is too dark, and heaven alone shines through. ' ' 

Let that home of Luther in Wittenberg, 
so beautiful in its summer joys and winter 
pleasures, and so sanctified in its sorrows 
of sickness and bereavement, be to us the 
true ideal type of the Christian family. 
Let our homes be Christian in form and 
spirit. Let the whole economy of the 



I48 HOME IN SORROW. 

household be religious. Let the recreations 
and pleasures of home be sanctified by 
thoughts and hopes of the heavenly inheri- 
tance. Let every morning unite the house- 
hold as at the gate of heaven, and every 
evening see it part with benediction as to 
its final rest. Then shall the sweet com- 
munions of the household be made immor- 
tal by hopes of heaven ; and even the 
broken links in the family circle will be re- 
tained by Christian faith, and help to draw 
us heavenward. 

God grant to each of us such a Christian 
home while we live ; and when our time 
comes to depart, may our last look of earth 
be upon the faces we best love ; may the 
gates that open into the heavenly city be 
from a Christian home. And knowing no 
better name for that world to which we go, 
we will look up with longing hope and 
tearful rapture and call it Home. 



1S55. 1870. 

LUTHERAN PUBLICATION SOCIETY, 

No. 42 NORTH NINTH STREET, PHILADELPHIA. 
J. K. Shryock, Superintendent. 




take pleasure in announcing to the 

jjH3 Church and to the Trade in general, that 

we have commenced the publication of 



the 

fatherland J$m*s, 

as follows: 
THE COTTAGE by THE LAKE." 

Translated from the German of Martin Claudius, by 
Miss R. H. Schively. "When the need is sorest God's 
help is nearest." 

16mo, Cloth, a Beautiful Frontispiece, 160 pages, $0.75. 

" This volume will supply a want in our Sunday-school 
Libraries, tD which the Religious Press has called attention 
— books of a more devotional and evangelical character. 
The Wilmer Family is charactei ized by all that makes the 



' Schoenberg Cotta Family ' so univeiially attractive. * * * 
We can confidently recommend this book, translated with 
all elegance of diction, and with all the w urmth and pathos 
of the German heart. * * * All classes will be instructed 
and elevated by this kind of literature. It has channs for 
the youthful and the mature, and will profit every one '* — 
Mrs E. B. S. 



"IN THE MIDST OFTHE NORTH SEA." 
From the German of Marie Roskowska, by 
J. F. Smith, Esq. 
16mo, Cloth, Two Engravings, $0,75. 
A story of life upon one of the lonely little islands (or 
Halligen) lying in the North Sea off the German coast. 
The loneliness and the dangers accompanying a residence 
upon these barren, marshy spots, are dramatically described, 
and the characteristics of the two families are painted most 
naturally. The incidents of " Lost in the Fog," " The 
Shipwreck," and "The Inundation," are full of interest; 
and the earnest piety that pervades the narrative will recom- 
mend it to any Christian family or Sabbath School. The 
tale is full of excitement, and yet is anything but sensational. 



"ANTON, THE FISHERMAN." 

By Franz Hoffmann. Translated by Mrs. M. A. 
Manderson. 
16mo, Cloth. Three Fine Original Engravings, $0.85. 
" A very interesting story of humble life, illustrating do- 
mestic happiness, and the prevalence of industry, manliness, 
and integrity — together with the providential deliverances 
that sometimes occur in the midst of the trials that beset 
the believing poor." — The Lutheran and Missionary, 
Philadelphia. 



"Anton, the Fisherman.' — "We call the specia? at 
lention of the public to this beautiful book, just issued 
by the Lutheran Board of Publication. It is from the 
famous Hoffmann of Dresden, who has won a world-wide 
fame as the writer of popular stories for the young. The 
translation is so natural and graceful, that no one would 
suspect its German origin. The book is in the best style 
of book-making, and has elicited universal admiration. 
Let the Church encourage our publications, with a prompt, 
cheerful, and generous patronage." — Lutheran Observer. 



"Rene, the Little Savoyard." 

By Franz Hoffmann. Translated by J. F. Smith, Esq. 
16mo, Cloth, Two Excellent Original Engravings, $0.85, 
" I have just read with great pleasure, ' Rene,' in your 
very attractive Fatherland Series. It is a brilliant little 
story, and is well translated. The children (and their 
parents) will be delighted with these pure and beautiful 
books, which I hope may have the wide circulation they 
deserve." Yours, C. P. Krauth, 



"FRITZ; OR, FILIAL LOVE." 

By Franz Hoffmann. Translated by M. A. Manderson 
16mo, Cloth, One First Class Original Engraving, $0.65. 
"A charming story, founded upon the life of one ol 
Frederick the Great's generals. The healthy pious tone 
that pervades the book, as well as the literary merit, should 
recommend it to every family and Sunday-school Library. 
We venture to say that no boy will read this pleasant nar- 
rative without wishing to know m.re of Prussia's greai 
king. 



8 

York, Pa., Aprils 18*70. 
"Please send me 'Cottage by the Lake.' The othe 
volumes of the Fatherland Series I have. I am much 
pleased with the books. If you publish a thousand volumes, 
send them all to me, and draw on me for the amount they 
cost J. H. Menges." 

Lockport, April*), 1870. 
" Since I have three of the Series you are publishing at 
present, I would desire to have the first number — 'The 
Cottage by the Lake.' This number you have not sent me. 
Those you sent me I read with great interest, and am much 
pleased with them, and trust they may be largely circulated. 
" Yours, truly, M. IiRT." 

Canton, 0., April 4, 1870. 
" Enclosed find the amount of your bill for the ' Father- 
land Series.' The books are very interesting, and my 
children are delighted with them. 

"Yours, L. M. Kuhns." 

Harrisburg, April '7 , 1870. 
* Your book entitled ' Fritz,' is all right. Go ahead ; 
the more of that kind you publish the better. 

" Youns, fraternally, G. F. Stelling." 

Selinsgrove, April 6, 1870. 
" I am glad to see you bringing out such nice, neat books. 
You can send us one copy of all new publications until 
otherwise ordered. Consider us standing subscribers. 
" Yours, J. G. L. Shindel." 

Frostburg, Md., April 6, 1870. 
" * The Fatherland Series ' I am pleased with. They 
compare favorably with any of the publications of the day 
— are a credit to the Society. 

"Yours, H. Bishop." 



UUN..? 



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